Antibiotics for sore throats and other stories . . .

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h1056 (Published 04 March 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1056

British GPs have a long tradition of beating themselves up over prescribing antibiotics for sore throats, a form of masochism that the chief medical officer encourages. But a study of prescribing patterns in six other countries (BMC Family Practice 2015;16:7, doi:10.1186/s12875-015-0224-y) shows that high rates of prescribing are the norm, ranging from a median of 38% in Spain to 88% in Sweden, but with huge differences between individual practitioners. Because prescribing was directed at possible streptococcal infection, it will be interesting to see whether it changes after a recent American study showed that more sore throats are caused by fusobacteria than by streptococci (Annals of Internal Medicine 2015;162:241-7, doi:10.7326/M14-1305).

Raised blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol are risk factors that often cluster together, and two new studies from Asia try to disentangle their interactions. In the Chinese population, blood sugar in the “prediabetic” range is associated with …

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