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J Family Community Med. 2005 Sep;12(3):121-6.

Prescribing patterns for acute respiratory infections in primary health care, aseer region, saudi arabia.

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General Directorate of Health Affairs, Aseer Region, Saudi Arabia.



The objective of this study was to identify the patterns of prescribing for Acute respiratory infections in patients attending primary health care centers in the Aseer region, southwestern Saudi Arabia. MATERIALS #ENTITYSTARTX00026;


This study was conducted at primary health care centers in the Aseer region during November 2003. A master sheet designed by the investigator was distributed to all the working physicians in the primary health care center in the Aseer region. The master sheet included the age, sex, complaints, signs, clinical diagnosis and the type of medications prescribed. Physicians were asked to include all patients attending on 17(th) November 2003, and send the master sheet to the Technical Supervision Unit at Primary Care Department, General Directorate of Health Affairs. Data of the master sheet was entered and analyzed by using SPSS.


The total number of patients attending with acute respiratory infections(ARIs) was 3000 which represented 25% of the patients attending primary health care centers that day. Children formed 60% of the total number of cases. Regarding symptoms and signs, it was found that 70% had a cough, 59% had a runny nose, and 43% had a sore throat . The common cold was the most common diagnosis (42%). Antipyretics, antihistamines, antibiotics and antitussives were prescribed for 78%, 48%, 45% and 25% respectively. Statistical analysis using logistic regression revealed that the higher the temperature, the more severe the throat congestion and the presence of exudates on pharynx, the higher the likelihood to prescribe antibiotics.


In this study, it was found that the prescription of all drugs for ARIs was still high in spite of the fact that these conditions are self-limiting. To rationalize prescribing for ARI, implementation of the national protocol for diagnosis and treatment of ARIs is mandatory. Further studies to explore the physician's knowledge, attitudes and behavior concerning prescribing for ARI is strongly recommended.


Acute Respiratory Infections; Prescribing; Primary health care centers

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