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Prescribing pattern of drugs in medical wards of three hospitals in northwest Ethiopia

Teferra Abula
Zeruesenay Desta
Asfawossen G Yohannes


Appropriate drug utilization has a huge contribution to global reductions in morbidity and mortality with its consequent medical, social and economic benefits. Studies whether drugs are appropriately used or utilized are, however, lacking. This study was designed to investigate the prescribing pattern of drugs in three hospitals of north-west Ethiopia. A total of 882 medical records were reviewed retrospectively for the duration of one-year (1994).

The average admission diagnosis per patient was 1.4 in Gondar, 1.23 in Bahir Dar and 1.33 in Debre Tabor hospitals. Seven out of ten (70%) of top ten diagnoses were similar (except the rank order) in the three hospitals; tuberculosis being the leading diagnosis in all the three hospitals. The average number of drugs per patient during the hospitalization period was 5.2, 3.2, and 4.7 in Gondar, Bahir Dar and Debre Tabor hospital, respectively.

Anti-infective drugs (with preponderance of anti-bacterial drugs) accounted for almost half of the total prescription frequency and more than 70% of the medical inpatients received antibiotics mainly on empirical basis.

The prescribing pattern of individual drugs in the surveyed hospitals seemed to show some variation although the representation of the pharmacological classes (groups) showed some similarity. The prescribing patterns of the hospitals are discussed from the medical and economical points of view and the use of therapeutic guidelines with continued assessment of problems associated with drug resistance is recommended.

Key Words: Drugs, Medical in-patients, Prescribing pattern.

[J Ethiopia Med Pract. 2002;4(1):8– 13]

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eISSN: 1560-1560