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Out-of-hours antibiotic prescription after screening with C reactive protein: a randomised controlled study
  1. Ingrid Keilegavlen Rebnord1,2,
  2. Hogne Sandvik1,
  3. Anders Batman Mjelle3,
  4. Steinar Hunskaar1,2
  1. 1National Centre for Emergency Primary Health Care, Uni Research Health, Bergen, Norway
  2. 2Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  3. 3Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ingrid Keilegavlen Rebnord; ingrid.rebnord{at}


Objective To evaluate the effect of preconsultation C reactive protein (CRP) screening on antibiotic prescribing and referral to hospital in Norwegian primary care settings with low prevalence of serious infections.

Design Randomised controlled observational study at out-of-hours services in Norway.

Setting Primary care.

Participants 401 children (0–6 years) with fever and/or respiratory symptoms were recruited from 5 different out-of-hours services (including 1 paediatric emergency clinic) in 2013–2015.

Intervention Data were collected from questionnaires and clinical examination results. Every third child was randomised to a CRP test before the consultation; for the rest, the doctor ordered a CRP test if considered necessary.

Outcome measures Main outcome variables were prescription of antibiotics and referral to hospital.

Results In the group pretested with CRP, the antibiotic prescription rate was 26%, compared with 22% in the control group. In the group pretested with CRP, 5% were admitted to hospital, compared with 9% in the control group. These differences were not statistically significant. The main predictors for ordering a CRP test were parents' assessment of seriousness of the illness and the child's temperature. Paediatricians ordered CRP tests less frequently than did other doctors (9% vs 56%, p<0.001).

Conclusions Preconsultation screening with CRP of children presenting to out-of-hours services with fever and/or respiratory symptoms does not significantly affect the prescription of antibiotics or referral to hospital.

Trial registration number NCT02496559; Results.

  • C-reactive protein
  • Prescriptions
  • Referral and Consultation

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