Antibiotic prescription pattern in a Ghanaian primary health care facility
Introduction: A major challenge to the provision of health care worldwide is the irrational use of antibiotics. To help promote rational use of drugs, standard treatment guidelines (STG) and essential medicine lists and facility-specific formularies have been developed to be used by clinicians. This study assessed the prescription pattern of antibiotics and explored the use of STG by clinicians.
Methods: A prospective cross sectional study that made use of seven core drug use indicators was conducted from February, 2017 to July, 2017. Prescribing indicators were assessed using 388 prescriptions that were submitted for filling and dispensing at the pharmacy unit of the hospital. Clinicians were interviewed to assess their use of STG. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20.0 with a p-value of < 0.05 considered as statistically significant.
Results: A total of 1351 drugs were prescribed for 388 patients. The average number of medicines per prescription was 3.5. Of the 388 prescriptions, 55.2% bore antibiotics, with amoxicillin (22.5%) and ciprofloxacin (18.4%) being the most prescribed antibiotics. Patients' knowledge about their medications was found to be significantly associated with the number of drugs per prescription (p = 0.001), age (p = 0.015) and educational level (p = 0.001). Only 41.7% of prescribers had copies of STG and used them.
Conclusion: The prescribing and dispensing practices in the hospital were generally not satisfactory with a low patronage of STG among prescribers. In order to improve the situation, clinicians should practice evidence based medicine rather than empirical treatment of conditions as well as use the STG in practice.
Keywords: Rational drug use, prescribing indicators, patient indicators, University of Cape Coast Hospital, Ghana, antibiotic prescription