Background: Overuse of antibiotics is a major public health problem, contributing to growing antibiotic resistance. Procalcitonin has been reported to be commonly elevated in bacterial, but not viral infection. Multiple European trials found procalcitonin-guided care reduced antibiotic use in lower respiratory tract infection, with no apparent harm. However, applicability to US practice is limited due to trial design features impractical in the US, between-country differences, and residual safety concerns. Methods: The Procalcitonin Antibiotic Consensus Trial (ProACT) is a multicenter randomized trial to determine the impact of a procalcitonin antibiotic prescribing guideline, implemented with basic reproducible strategies, in US patients with lower respiratory tract infection. Discussion: We describe the trial methods using the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) framework, and the rationale for key design decisions, including choice of eligibility criteria, choice of control arm, and approach to guideline implementation. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02130986. Registered May 1, 2014.
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