Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Adherence to the Malaysian clinical practice guideline for depression by general practitioners in private practice in Penang.

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posted on 2021-01-04, 15:42 authored by Khek Choong Ho, Vincent Russell, Larry Nyanti, Mei Wai Chan, Mohd Azmi Hassali, Omar Thanoon Dawood, Kavitha Subramaniam, Finian O'BrienFinian O'Brien
Introduction: Most primary care in Malaysia is provided by general practitioners in private practice. To date, little is known about how Malaysian General Practitioners (GPs) manage patients with depression. We surveyed privately practising primary care physicians in the state of Penang, Malaysia, in relation to their experience of the Malaysian Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) in Major Depressive Disorder, their current practice and perceived barriers in managing depression effectively.
Material and methods: A questionnaire based on the study aims and previous literature was developed by the authors and mailed to all currently registered GPs in private clinics in Penang. Survey responses were analysed using SSPS version 21.
Results: From a total of 386 questionnaires distributed, 112 (29%) were returned. Half of the respondents were unaware of the existence of any CPG for depression. One quarter reported not managing depression at all, while one third used anxiolytic monotherapy in moderate-severe depression. Almost 75 % of respondents reported making referrals to specialist psychiatric services for moderate-severe depression. Time constraints, patient non-adherence and a lack of depression management skills were perceived as the main barriers to depression care. Conclusions: Our findings highlight the need to engage privately practising primary care physicians in Malaysia to improve their skills in the management of depression. Future revisions of the Malaysian Depression CPG should directly involve more GPs from private practices at the planning, development and implementation stages, in order to increase its impact.


RCSI & UCD Malaysia Campus



This article was originally published at

Published Citation

Ho KC, Russell V, Nyanti L, Chan MW, Hassali MA, Dawood OT, Subramaniam K, O'Brien FM. Adherence to the Malaysian clinical practice guideline for depression by general practitioners in private practice in Penang. Asian Journal of Psychiatry. 2020; 48:101899

Publication Date

9 Dec 2019

PubMed ID



  • Psychiatry

Research Area

  • Health Professions Education
  • Population Health and Health Services


Elsevier BV


  • Published Version (Version of Record)