Delayed antibiotics

Delayed antibiotics

You may be offered a 'delayed prescription' for antibiotics. This will either be a prescription that you take to the chemist at a later date if your symptoms do not improve or get worse, or a prescription that you collect at a later date from a convenient location (for example, the surgery reception).

If you are offered a delayed prescription, this is because your RTI should clear up on its own. See Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) for more information on how long RTIs usually last and Managing symptoms for more information on how you can help relieve the symptoms.

You should be reassured that antibiotics are not needed immediately because they will not help your symptoms. In addition, antibiotics can cause unpleasant side effects, such as sickness, diarrhoea or skin rashes. You should use the delayed prescription if your symptoms are not starting to go away or if you start to feel worse.

You should make another appointment if your symptoms get worse despite using the delayed prescription.

Questions you might like to ask

  • When should I start to feel better and what should I do if I don't start to feel better by then?

  • Is there anything I can do to help myself get better?

  • When and how should I seek further help?

  • Is there any written material (like a leaflet) that I can have?