Prescribing patterns for upper respiratory tract infections: a prescription-review of primary care practice in Kedah, Malaysia and the implications

Rabiatul Salmi Rezal, Mohamed Azmi Hassali, Alian A Alrasheedy, Fahad Saleem, Faridah Aryani Md Yusof, Mardhiyah Kamal, Rosminah Mohd Din, Brian Godman

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Introduction and aims: It is necessary to ascertain current prescribing of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) to address potential overuse. A retrospective analysis was conducted of all prescriptions for URTIs among ten public primary healthcare centres in Kedah, Malaysia from 1st January to 31st March 2014. Results: A total of 123,524 prescriptions were screened and analysed. Of these, 7129 prescriptions were for URTI, with 31.8% (n=2269) containing antibiotics. Macrolides were the most commonly prescribed antibiotic constituting 61% (n=1403) of total antibiotics prescribed. There was a statistically significant association between different prescribers and diagnoses (p=0•001) and a weak positive trend suggesting family medicine specialists are more competent in antibiotic prescribing, followed by medical officers and assistant medical officers (τ=0•122).. Conclusions: Prescribing practices of some prescribers were inconsistent with current guidelines encouraging resistance development. National antimicrobial stewardship programmes and further educational initiatives are ongoing in Malaysia to improve antibiotic use
Original languageEnglish
JournalExpert Review of Anti-infective Therapy
Early online date10 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • inappropriate use of antibiotics
  • upper respiratory tract infections
  • primary healthcare centres
  • guidelines
  • antibiotics stewardship programmes
  • Malaysia

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