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Table 1 Criteria for considering studies for the review

From: Systematic review of patient-oriented interventions to reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections

Study characteristicsIncludeExclude
ParticipantsMembers of general public or patients of all age groups with upper respiratory tract infections (such as sinusitis, pharyngitis, sore throat, otitis media, common cold, and acute cough) who seek treatment in any general practice setting.Patients with lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) and those with chronic lung conditions (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)) will be excluded.
InterventionsAny intervention that is directed to patients, parents of patients (when the patients are children), public, or healthy individuals to reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics for URTIs in the primary care setting.Interventions that are directed to healthcare providers or clinical staff will be excluded.
The interventions that target patients indirectly (the primary and main effect of the intervention are directed to healthcare providers and patients benefit secondarily from that effect) will be excluded.
Patient decision aids
ComparisonsThese comparisons will be included:
• Interventions directed at patients/public versus no intervention.
• Interventions directed at patients/public versus standard or usual care.
• One form of intervention directed at patients/public versus another.
Other comparisons will be excluded.
OutcomesPrimary outcomes:
• Prescription or use of antibiotics for URTIs in the primary care setting.
Secondary outcomes:
• Public/patients’ satisfaction with the treatment/consultation.
• Public/patients’ beliefs that antibiotics are effective for URTIs.
• Re-consultation for the same illness in the next 2 weeks.
Studies that do not report the primary outcome will be excluded.
Study designsRandomized controlled trials (RCTs)
Quasi-RCTs (a trial in which randomization is attempted but subject to potential manipulation, such as allocating participants by day of the week, date or birth, or sequence of entry into trial).
CBA (controlled before and after) studies are included if:
• There are at least two intervention sites and two control sites;
• The timing of the periods for study for the control and intervention groups is comparable (that is, the pre- and post- intervention periods of measurement for the control and intervention groups should be the same);
• The intervention and control groups are comparable on key characteristics.
ITS (interrupted time series) studies will be included if:
• The intervention occurred at a clearly defined point in time, and this was specified by the researchers;
• There were at least three data points before and three data points after the intervention was introduced.
CBA and ITS will not be included if they do not meet the mentioned criteria.
Other kinds of studies (e.g. observational, reviews) will be excluded.
LanguageEnglish studies will be included.Studies of other languages will be excluded.