Full paper| By Mohamed Azmi Hassali

General practitioners’ knowledge, attitude and prescribing of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections in Selangor, Malaysia: findings and implications

Background:

Antibiotics are widely prescribed especially for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). Their irrational use can increase costs and resistance. Aim: Assess knowledge, attitude and prescribing of antibiotics for URTIs in Selangor, Malaysia, using a cross-sectional survey among general practitioners (GPs) working in private clinics in 2011

Aim:

Assess knowledge, attitude and prescribing of antibiotics for URTIs in Selangor, Malaysia, using a cross-sectional survey among general practitioners (GPs) working in private clinics in 2011

Results:

One hundred and thirty-nine physicians completed the questionnaire (response rate = 34.8%). 49.6% (n = 69) agreed antibiotics are helpful in treating URTIs, with most GPs agreeing antibiotics may reduce URTI duration and complications. The majority of GPs reported they felt patients expected antibiotics, with 36.7% (n = 51) agreeing patients would change doctors if they did not prescribe antibiotics and 21.6% (n = 30) agreeing when requested they prescribe antibiotics even if they believe them to be unnecessary. When assessed against six criteria, most GPs had a moderate level of knowledge of prescribing for URTIs. However, antibiotic prescriptions could be appreciably reduced.

Conclusions:

Further programs are needed to educate GPs and patients about antibiotics building on current initiatives.