The overuse of antibiotics stems, in part, from uncertainty. Procalcitonin (PCT) testing gives clinicians crucial information.
Clinicians face a major challenge: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The overuse of antibiotics has resulted in resistant bacteria and viruses that no longer respond to medicines, and the impact is severe — and getting worse. Drug-resistant diseases cause 700,000 deaths annually — a number predicted to grow to 10 million deaths annually by 2050 if nothing is done.
“Antimicrobial resistance is primarily driven by inappropriate use of antibiotics,” noted Michael R. Broyles, Pharm.D., director of medical affairs at Thermo Fisher Scientific, a scientific instrumentation company. “That’s often driven by uncertainty and erring in favor of caution.”
Clinicians often find themselves working at a disadvantage when it comes to AMR and the decision to prescribe antibiotics because many symptoms can be associated with different diagnoses. This makes the question of whether the symptoms have a bacterial or non-bacterial cause a crucial one.
Serial procalcitonin (PCT) testing is a key tool in the fight against AMR. A protein found in response to bacterial infections, testing for procalcitonin offers the clinician a wealth of information.
“PCT has a very high sensitivity and specificity for bacteria with favorable kinetics,” Dr. Broyles explained. “PCT can reliably help us differentiate non-bacterial from bacterial inflammation, viral vs. bacterial infection, the severity of bacterial burden, evaluation of antimicrobial choices, and most times the opportunity to choose variable or custom durations of therapy vs. a fixed duration.”
PCT-guided healthcare has also been shown to significantly reduce the $4.6 billion associated with drug-resistant pathogens annually. “No other biomarker provides this ability to appropriately use antibiotics, which is, by definition, antimicrobial stewardship,” Dr. Broyles added, “thus resulting in significant clinical and financial value.”
To learn more about PCT testing, visit procalcitonin.com.