NoteDoses are oral and for adults unless otherwise stated. Visit the Health Products Regulatory Authority website for drug SPCs, dosage, contraindications, interactions (or IMF/BNF/BNFC/MIMS) - Healthcare professionals should use a range of reference sources to inform their prescribing decisions. See guidance on dosing in children for quick reference dosage/weight guide.
Letters indicate strength of evidence range from A+ (systematic review) to D (informal opinion).
Statins can interact with some antibiotics and increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis. Amiodarone and drugs which prolong the QT interval can interact with many antibiotics. Many antibiotics increase the risk of bleeding with anticoagulants. Please refer to our Drug Interactions Table for further information.
- Many are viral. Symptomatic benefit of antibiotics is small.
- 80% resolve in 14 days without antibiotics and they only offer marginal benefit after 7 days (NNT 15). A+
- Reserve for severe cases B+ or symptoms >10 days.
- Cochrane review concludes that amoxicillin and phenoxymethylpenicillin have similar efficacy to the other recommended antibiotics.
- In persistent infection use an agent with anti-anaerobic activity e.g. co-amoxiclav. B+
- Use NSAID or paracetamol B+
- Systemic decongestants, e.g. pseudoephedrine, improve air circulation and mucus drainage
- Saline preparations for local irrigation (e.g. nasal rinses, sprays, drops)
- Topical decongestants, e.g. oxymetazoline, xylometazoline, suitable for most patient groups (hypertensive, diabetes, pregnant women post first trimester)
- Topical route should not be used >7 days due to rebound congestion
Consider a no or delayed antibiotic strategy. A+
If antibiotics deemed clinically indicated:
See guidance on dosing in children for quick reference dosage/weight guide.
||500 mg TDS
||OR doxycycline if allergic to penicillin
||200 mg stat/100 mg OD
||OR clarithromycin if allergic to penicillin
||625 mg TDS
The HSE Health A-Z website provides patient information on many hundreds of conditions and treatments.
We recommend patients use the website developed by HSE/ICGP/IPU partnership www.undertheweather.ie for tips on how to get better from common infections without using antibiotics, what you can do for yourself or a loved one and when to seek help.
Reviewed June 2016