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Background Antimicrobial use in the Laos is among the highest in the Southeast Asia region. The first Lao comprehensive antimicrobial prescribing guidelines have been available since 2021. This study explored the determinants of antibiotic prescribing decisions and how the new prescribing guidelines were being used. Methods In August 2022, in-depth interviews were conducted with 16 Lao prescribers from two hospitals. Participants were questioned about their prescribing behaviours, attitudes to guidelines, how they learned about the guidelines and factors influencing their uptake. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and translated into English. Thematic analysis of the transcripts was conducted. Results Lao prescribers considered multiple factors before deciding to prescribe antibiotics to their patients. The most common factor was based on the clinical judgement of the prescribers. Lack of certain antibiotics and turnaround times of laboratory results were the main challenges to prescribing antibiotics appropriately. The majority of participants were satisfied with the guidelines, regarding them as comprehensive, simple and convenient. However, most participants admitted that they did not access the guidelines very often. The main reason was that they could remember the treatment recommendations because they treat similar diseases on a daily basis. Improving antibiotic knowledge was the most common recommendation in order to improve the appropriate use of antibiotics. Raising awareness of the guidelines and promoting their use should also be considered. In addition, heads of the wards, and policy and implementation leaders, should support, monitor and feedback their use to encourage all prescribers to follow the guidelines. Conclusions Several factors contribute to enhancing appropriate antibiotic prescription. Key factors for improving antibiotic prescription include enhancing prescribers' clinical knowledge, ensuring access to essential antibiotics, utilizing point-of-care diagnostics while waiting for culture and susceptibility testing results, and updating guidelines regularly. Health leaders must get involved to promote their use.

Original publication





Wellcome Open Research


F1000 Research Ltd

Publication Date





183 - 183