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

Hassali, M.A. and Kamil, T.K.T. and Faridah, A.M.Y. and Alrasheedy, A.A. and Yussoff, Z.M. and Saleem, F. and AL-Tamimi, S.K. and Wong, Z.Y. and Aljadhey, H. and Godman, B. (2015) General practitioners’ knowledge, attitude and prescribing of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections in Selangor, Malaysia : findings and implications. Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy, 13 (4). pp. 511-520. ISSN 1744-8336

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    Abstract

    Background: Antibiotics are widely prescribed especially for 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 GPs working in private clinics in 2011. Results: 139 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 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. Conclusion: Further programmes are needed to educate GPs and patients about antibiotics building on current initiatives.