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Procalcitonin; a help for the prescription of antibiotics

Author : Pierre Allain Date : 2010-2-15

Procalcitonin is a prohormone, precursor of calcitonin, whose plasma concentration rises during bacterial infections. The assay of plasma procalcitonin is used in addition to other clinical and biologica investigations, to precise the diagnosis of bacterial infection and the need of antibiotic therapy.

A paper published in Lancet of February 6th, 2010, shows that the measurement of the plasma procalcitonin in-patients in intensive care units, made it possible to reduce the use antibiotics and to shorten its duration without detrimental effects for patients. A very low procalcitonin level is in favor of an absence of bacterial infection and of no antibiotic prescription and a very high level in favor of an infection and an antibiotic prescription.

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