pills split into two

Our guidance and advice to help manage common infections and tackle antimicrobial resistance.

We've been asked by the Department of Health and Social Care to develop evidence-based, clinical syndrome specific guidance and advice to help slow the development of antimicrobial resistances.

Existing Public Health England guidance on management and treatment of common infections will be replaced over the next few years by new NICE/PHE antimicrobial prescribing guidelines.


Our guidelines offer evidence-based antimicrobial prescribing information for all care settings.

They focus on bacterial infections and appropriate antibiotic use. Each guideline topic features a visual summary of the antimicrobial prescribing recommendations, a guideline and an evidence review.

The visual summary is an overview of the guideline recommendations. It includes a prescribing table to support shared antimicrobial prescribing decisions in line with a health professional’s own clinical judgement.


An example of the draft visual summary for our sinusitis guideline

 summary of our recommendations on sinusitis   summary of our recommendations on sinusitis


Published: February 2020

Leg ulcer infection

Published: February 2020

Diabetic foot infection

Published: October 2019


Published: September 2019

Pneumonia (community-acquired)

Published: September 2019

Pneumonia (hospital-acquired)

Published: September 2019

Lower UTI

Published: October 2018

Pyelonephritis (acute)

Published: October 2018

Recurrent UTI

Published:  October 2018

Prostatitis (acute)

Published:  October 2018

Otitis media (acute)

Published:  March 2018

Sore throat (acute)

Published:  January 2018

Sinusitis (acute)

Published:  October 2017

Summary of antimicrobial prescribing guidance - managing common infections

NICE and Public Health England (PHE) have brought together our information on managing common infections into a summary table. We will add a summary of new NICE guidance as it's published. We also indicate where new guidance is in development.

The evidence and rationales underpinning the information in the table can be accessed by clicking on the hyperlinks or the visual summary icons in the document.

The processes used by each organisation to develop their guidance differ. The process for developing the NICE guidelines can be found in the interim process guide. The process for developing the PHE guidance is briefly outlined on the PHE website in the PHE context, references and rationales document with further information available upon request. 

This is the first time both sets of national guidance have been brought together and we would welcome your feedback. Please email infections@nice.org.uk if you have any feedback to help improve future versions.


 screenshot of the first page of the managing common infections table.


Last updated March 2020

Topics added to the table:

  • acute diverticulitis
  • impetigo (replaces PHE guidance from Nov 2017)
  • leg ulcer infection (replaces PHE guidance from Feb 2019).

We've updated the content for these topics:

  • acute sore throat: wording added about course length of phenoxymethylpenicillin
  • lower urinary tract infection: wording added about people with symptoms of pyelonephritis or a complicated UTI
  • acute pyelonephritis: wording added about avoiding antibiotics that don’t achieve adequate levels in renal tissue
  • Lyme disease: wording on prophylaxis removed.


Our antimicrobial evidence summaries provide commissioners, providers and health professionals with a summary of the best available evidence for antimicrobials. 

In development

We are currently developing guideline recommendations on the following topics:

Why is our guidance and advice needed?

The World Health Organization states that 'antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective'.

Resistance to antimicrobials is complex and increasing. Combined with a lack of new antimicrobial medicines, there is a growing risk that infections may not be treatable in the future. 

The Department of Health and Social Care asked us to develop guidelines to help slow antimicrobial resistance. These guidelines are evidence-based and clinical syndrome specific. 

Read more about the importance of antimicrobial resistance at Health matters: antimicrobial resistance.

Doctor Tessa Lewis
When we as health professionals are discussing treatments for common infections with patients, it is important to talk about the benefits and harms of prescribing antibiotics. This includes the risks of antimicrobial resistance and the threat this poses to public health.Tessa Lewis, GP and Chair of the managing common infections advisory committee

How we develop guidance and advice

Antimicrobial prescribing guidelines

Find out how we develop antimicrobial prescribing guidance in the:

The scope sets out the remit for the programme:

Evidence summaries

Find out how we develop our advice in the:

Get involved


Evaluation and purchase of antimicrobials

We're beginning a project with NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop and test innovative models for the evaluation and purchase of antimicrobials.

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