NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Area Drug and Therapeutics Committee
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Medicines
Medicines Update

Delayed antibiotic prescribing

The first blog in this series highlighted delayed prescribing as one way to try to reduce unecessary antibiotic usage.


The TARGET toolkit contains patient information leaflets intended for use where either a prescription is not required, or a back up (delayed) prescription is appropriate.


The Target webinars include sessions on backup prescriptions, managing patient expectation and a common practice approach to antibiotic prescribing.


Back up (delayed) prescribing can be a useful way to reduce antibiotic consumption with selected patients. GPs are encouraged to consider this where there is no immediate need to prescribe. It gives a ‘safety-net’ if the illness duration is prolonged or the patient’s condition deteriorates. 


A patient may be advised to only collect a prescription after ‘x’ days from either the GP surgery or the Pharmacy if any anticipated improvement is not seen. The use of delayed prescribing has been shown to not adversely affect outcome (Cochrane 2013). 


Community Pharmacists have an important role to play in educating patients on why an antibiotic may not always be required, and particularly in the concept of just in case (delayed) prescribing.  



Published 03/04/2017