C-reactive protein (CRP) point of care tests may help reduce unnecessary antibiotic use. Sinus infections are one of the most common reasons patients walk out of the doctor’s office with an antibiotic prescription in hand. The problem is that bacteria causes only about one-third of sinus infections, which means most patients are inappropriately receiving antibiotics. Unnecessary antibiotic use is one of the leading contributors to antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To curb unnecessary antibiotic prescribing, physician and University of Georgia researcher Mark Ebell developed a clinical decision rule for diagnosing sinus infections, or acute rhinosinusitis. In a study appearing in the Annals of Family Medicine, Ebell presents a series of simple clinical rules that integrate patient symptoms and simple lab tests (CRP test) to accurately detect acute bacterial rhinosinusitis. CRP tests detect inflammation in the body, which can indicate an infection. This is an important component of the point score, Ebell said, though CRP testing is currently unavailable in most primary care settings in the U.S. “That’s one of the issues we wanted to call attention to,” he said. “This is a test that’s widely used by doctors in Europe, the U.K. and Australia, and has been shown to decrease inappropriate antibiotic use.” Ebell’s next plan is to perform a randomized clinical trial to test the effectiveness of the point score system, including the use of a CRP test, in clinical practice. “We need to give physicians better tools to support their decision-making, and that can include clinical decision rules and point of care tests like CRP,” Ebell said. “The study, “Proposed Clinical Decision Rules to Diagnose Acute Rhinosinusitis Among Adults in Primary Care,” is available online at http://www.annfammed.org/content/15/4/347.