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Clinical and psychosocial predictors of illness duration from randomised controlled trial of prescribing strategies for sore throat

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7212.736 (Published 18 September 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:736
  1. P Little, MRC clinician scientist (psl3@soton.ac.uk)a,
  2. C Gould, research assistanta,
  3. I Williamson, senior lecturer in primary carea,
  4. G Warner, general practitionerb,
  5. M Gantley, anthropologista,
  6. A L Kinmonth, professor of primary medical carea
  1. a Community Clinical Sciences (Primary Medical Care Group), Faculty of Health, Medicine and Biological Sciences, Aldermoor Health Centre, Southampton University, Southampton SO16 5ST
  2. b Nightingale Surgery, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 7QH
  1. Correspondence to: P Little
  • Accepted 29 June 1999

Sore throat is one of the commonest reasons for visiting general practitioners yet little is known about what factors are important in its natural course. This is important since people with prolonged illness after the consultation—the 36% with illness lasting more than five days after seeing the doctor (the median)—are much more likely to reattend.1 Providing patients with information about duration of illness can reduce expectation and reattendance.2 We studied factors that affect duration of sore throat and assessed whether satisfaction with the consultation independently predicts duration of illness.3

Participants, methods, and results

The methods are reported in full elsewhere.3 General practitioners documented the clinical characteristics of 716 patients presenting with sore throat, who were then randomised to one of three prescribing strategies (antibiotics, no antibiotics, delayed antibiotics). Patients recorded satisfaction with the consultation and how well their concerns had been dealt with on four point Likert scales (very, …

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