Anthelmintic drug dispensing in South Africa: An analysis of community pharmacy dispensing data
More than two billion people worldwide are infected with helminths. The primary aim of the study was to evaluate the dispensing patterns of anthelmintic products using dispensing data of South African community pharmacies. A retrospective, cross-sectional drug utilisation study was conducted on a 2013 community pharmacy dispensing database. A total of 252 248 anthelmintic products were dispensed to 176 931 persons (66.02% females) during 2013. The average age of persons to whom anthelmintic products were dispensed was 40.20 (SD=11.93) years. Four anthelmintic active ingredients were dispensed, namely albendazole, mebendazole, praziquantel and niclosamide. Mebendazole dominated the dispensing of anthelmintic products in this study, constituting 95.33% of the number of products and 92.60% of cost of products dispensed in ATC subgroup P02. Mebendazole was followed by albendazole. Most products (71.36%) dispensed were originator products, with only mebendazole and albendazole having generic equivalents. Dispensing patterns for mebendazole peaked in January and December (traditional holiday months in South Africa). The majority (83.02%) of products for praziquantel were dispensed in the northern provinces of South Africa (Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga). Parents and healthcare workers need to be more aware of possible helminth infections and the cost and availability of generics for albendazole and mebendazole.
Keywords: Anthelmintics, mebendazole, albendazole, deworming agents, drug utilisation.