Main Article Content

Prevalence and pattern of prescription errors in a Nigerian kidney hospital

Kehinde M. Babatunde
Akinwumi A. Akinbodewa
Ayodele O. Akinboye
Ademola O. Adejumo


Objectives: To determine (i) the prevalence and pattern of prescription errors in our Centre and, (ii) appraise pharmacists’ intervention and correction of identified prescription errors.

Design: A descriptive, single blinded cross-sectional study.

Setting: Kidney Care Centre is a public Specialist hospital. The monthly patient load averages 60 General Outpatient cases and 17.4 in-patients.

Participants: A total of 31 medical doctors (comprising of 2 Consultant Nephrologists, 15 Medical Officers, 14 House Officers), 40 nurses and 24 ward assistants participated in the study. One pharmacist runs the daily call schedule. Prescribers were blinded to the study. Prescriptions containing only galenicals were excluded.

Interventions: An error detection mechanism was set up to identify and correct prescription errors. Life-threatening prescriptions were discussed with the Quality Assurance Team of the Centre who conveyed such errors to the prescriber without revealing the on-going study.

Main outcome measures: Prevalence of prescription errors, pattern of prescription errors, pharmacist’s intervention.

Results: A total of 2,660 (75.0%) combined prescription errors were found to have one form of error or the other; illegitimacy 1,388 (52.18%), omission 1,221(45.90%), wrong dose 51(1.92%) and no error of style was detected. Life-threatening errors were low (1.1-2.2%). Errors were found more commonly among junior doctors and nonmedical doctors. Only 56 (1.6%) of the errors were detected and corrected during the process of dispensing.

Conclusion: Prescription errors related to illegitimacy and omissions were highly prevalent. There is a need to improve on patient-to-healthcare giver ratio. A medication quality assurance unit is needed in our hospitals.

Funding: No financial support was received by any of the authors for this study.

Keywords: Doctors, drugs, hospitals, Nigeria, prescription errors.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0016-9560