Procalcitonin-guided antibiotic treatment in patients with acute respiratory infections reduces antibiotic exposure and side effects while improving mortality rates.

Procalcitonin is produced by human epithelial cells reacting to bacterial infections, but it is downregulated during viral infections. In February 2017, the US FDA approved procalcitonin as a surrogate marker of bacterial infection and as a guide to antibiotic prescribing in conjunction with other traditional clinical and diagnostic measures in acute respiratory infections.

Philipp Schuetz, MD, professor at Medical University, Kantonsspital Aarau, Switzerland, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature search.