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Use of the FebriDx® host-response point-of-care test may reduce antibiotic use for respiratory tract infections in primary care: a mixed-methods feasibility study.

INTRODUCTION: FebriDx® is a CE-marked, single-use point-of-care test with markers for bacterial [C-reactive protein (CRP)] and viral [myxovirus resistance protein A (MxA)] infection, using finger-prick blood samples. Results are available after 10-12 min. We explored the usability and potential impact of FebriDx® in reducing antibiotic prescriptions for lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) in primary care, and the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled trial (RCT).

METHODS: Patients (aged ≥1 year) with LRTI deemed likely to receive antibiotic prescription were recruited at nine general practices and underwent FebriDx® testing. Data collection included FebriDx® results, antibiotic prescribing plan (before and after testing) and re-consultation rates. Staff completed System Usability Scale questionnaires.

RESULTS: From 31 January 2023 to 9 June 2023, 162 participants participated (median age 57 years), with a median symptom duration of 7 days (IQR 5-14). A valid FebriDx® result was obtained in 97% (157/162). Of 155 patients with available results, 103 (66%) had no detectable CRP or MxA, 28 (18%) had CRP only, 5 (3%) had MxA only, and 19 (12%) had both CRP and MxA. The clinicians' stated management plan was to prescribe antibiotics for 86% (134/155) before testing and 45% (69/155) after testing, meaning a 41% (95% CI: 31%, 51%) difference after testing, without evidence of increased re-consultation rates. Ease-of-use questionnaires showed 'good' user-friendliness.

CONCLUSIONS: Use of FebriDx® to guide antibiotic prescribing for LRTI in primary care was associated with a substantial reduction in prescribing intentions. These results support a fully powered RCT to confirm its impact and safety.

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