OBJECTIVE: No previous analyses have attempted to determine optimal therapy for upper respiratory tract infections on the basis of cost-minimization models and the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance among respiratory pathogens in Slovakia. This investigation compares macrolides and cephalosporines for empirical therapy and look at this new tool from the aspect of potential antibiotic policy decision-making process. METHODS: We employed a decision tree model to determine the threshold level of macrolides and cephalosporines resistance among community respiratory pathogens that would make cephalosporines or macrolides cost-minimising. To obtain information on clinical outcomes and cost of URTIs, a systematic review of the literature was performed. The cost-minimization model of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) treatment was derived from the review of literature and published models. RESULTS: We found that the mean cost of empirical treatment with macrolides for an URTIs was €93.27 when the percentage of resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae in the community was 0%; at 5%, the mean cost was €96.45; at 10%, €99.63; at 20%, €105.99, and at 30%, €112.36. Our model demonstrated that when the percentage of macrolide resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae exceeds 13.8%, use of empirical cephalosporines rather than macrolides minimizes the treatment cost of URTIs. CONCLUSIONS: Empirical macrolide therapy is less expensive than cephalosporines therapy for URTIs unless macrolide resistance exceeds 13.8% in the community. Results have important antibiotic policy implications, since presented model can be use as an additional decision-making tool for new guidelines and reimbursement processes by local authorities in the era of continual increase in antibiotic resistance.