Physicians’ knowledge, expectations, and practice regarding antibiotic use in primary health care
Objective: Physicians’ knowledge of antibiotics, their attitudes, expectations, and practices regarding antibiotic prescription is fundamental for controlling the irrational antibiotic use. This study evaluates primary health care (PHC) physicians’ knowledge, expectation, and practices regarding antibiotics use in upper respiratory tract infections.
Methods: A cross-sectional study conducted in the Qassim region where 32 PHC centers were selected randomly. A total of 294 PHC physicians were surveyed. A pre-tested questionnaire was used after an orientation of participating physicians.
Results: Response rate was 80.3%. There is a significant belief among participants that the use of antibiotics leads to relief of symptoms in the case of viral disease and that taking antibiotics without rational indication increases the side effects. Participants identified that inadequate prescription, use without prescription, and non-compliance of patients are the most important factors contributing to the development of bacterial resistance. Participants often blamed the pharmacist for contributing mostly to the development of the problem of antibiotic resistance. Most physicians identified that they feel under pressure if patients expect an antibiotic prescription. In the absence of laboratory confirmation, most physicians selected high fever as the symptom that makes them prescribe antibiotics. Although having practice guidelines, participants demonstrated that these guidelines do not consider individual variations of patients’ need. They do not support a regulation to prohibit antibiotic prescription without laboratory confirmation.
Conclusions: The distribution of PHC physicians’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices did not significantly vary between urban and rural centers. Therefore, whichever measures will be taken to improve the antibiotics practices can be applied to any PHC setting.
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