Background. Globally, general practitioners (GPs) write more than 90% of all antibiotic prescriptions. This study examines the experiences of Lithuanian and Russian GPs in antibiotic prescription for upper respiratory tract infections, including their perceptions of when it is not indicated clinically or pharmacologically. Methods. 22 Lithuanian and 29 Russian GPs participated in five focus group discussions. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Results. We identified four main thematic categories: patients’ faith in antibiotics as medication for upper respiratory tract infections; patient potential to influence a GP’s decision to prescribe antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections; impediments perceived by GPs in advocating clinically grounded antibiotic prescribing with their patients, and strategies applied in physician-patient negotiation about antibiotic prescribing for upper respiratory tract infections. Conclusions. Understanding the nature of physician-patient interaction is critical to the effective pursuit of clinically grounded antibiotic use as this study undertaken in Lithuania and the Russian Federation has shown. Both physicians and patients must be targeted to ensure correct antibiotic use. Further, GPs should be supported in enhancing their communication skills about antibiotic use with their patients and encouraged to implement a shared decision-making model in their practices.
 The bacterial challenge: time to react. ECDC/ EMEA joint technical report. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Stockholm, 2009. [http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/0909_TER_The_Bacterial_Challenge_Time_to_React.pdf, cited 13 July 2010]
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