The researchers conducted this study to describe the existing literature on PCT as a biomarker in patients with ARS, analyze outcomes in ARS patients treated with PCT-guided therapy versus traditional management, and compare PCT to other biomarkers used in the diagnosis of bacterial ARS.

Researchers conducted data from PubMed and Embase. A systematic search in the PubMed and Embase databases was performed to identify studies related to PCT as a biomarker in ARS. Researchers identified two RCTs of PCT-based guidelines for antibiotic management of ARS in outpatient settings and four observational studies that compared PCT to other biomarkers in patients with ARS.

The 2 RCTs demonstrated a reduction in antibiotic prescription rate in the PCT-guided group versus the control group with no change in the number of days with impaired activity due to illness, the number of days of work missed, and the percentage of patients with persistent symptoms at 28 days.

The study concluded that there is limited existing literature on the role of PCT in diagnosis, management, and prediction of clinical outcomes in ARS, suggests that PCT-based guidelines for antibiotic prescription are a safe and effective method of minimizing unnecessary antibiotic use.