Antibiotics in Upper Respiratory Tract Infections: Appropriateness of the Practice in Jordan

Mousa Al-Omari, Ghada Yahia, Yousef Khader, Anwar Batieha, Ali Shakir Dauod


Objectives: This study was conducted to assess how common is the use of antibiotics in the treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections by primary health care providers in north of Jordan, and the appropriateness of that use. Furthermore, to assess antibiotic use in relation to patients and physician characteristics.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among patients with acute upper respiratory tract infections attending primary health centers in Irbid governorate in north of Jordan. All patients with upper respiratory infections above the levels of the bronchioles were eligible for inclusion in this study. Accordingly, 234 patients were included. Each patient was first seen and treated by the health center general practitioner and re-examined and evaluated independently by a family medicine consultant during the same visit.

Results: The mean age of patients was 17.1 years (SD=16.4) and more than half of them (56%) were children < 15 years old. General practitioners prescribed antibiotics to 61% of the patients, and these prescriptions were inappropriate in 86% of the cases. Patients' characteristics such as age, sex and education showed no role on the antibiotic prescribing decision of their physicians.

Conclusion: Antibiotic use for upper respiratory tract infections in Jordan is common and largely inappropriate, and the characteristics of patients did not influence antibiotic prescribing by physicians. We recommend further investigations of this important issue, to find out the reasons of overusing antibiotics by physicians in these illnesses.


Antibiotics, Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, Primary Health Care, Family Physicians, Jordan

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