Drug utilization pattern in orthopaedic outpatient department of a tertiary care hospital in Kerala: a geriatric perspective

Sini K., Mohammed Basheer, Shaikh Ubedulla Shaikh Iqbal Daud, Divya G. Krishnan


Background: Geriatric population due to the age related changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics and the presence of comorbidities is vulnerable to drug interactions, adverse effects and high cost of therapy. This necessitates a periodic review of DU pattern in the geriatric population to ensure safe and effective treatment for them. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the DU pattern for medical conditions among the geriatric population in the Orthopaedic outpatient department (OPD) of a tertiary care hospital in Kerala.

Methods: In this cross sectional observational study conducted in the Orthopaedics OPD of a tertiary care hospital, prescriptions were collected from patients attending the Orthopaedics OPD randomly over a period of 6 months. Out of these, prescriptions of male and female patients of age more than 60 years were sorted and analysed using World Health Organization drug prescribing indicators as well as additional parameters and the data was presented in the form of frequency and percentages using tables and charts.

Results: A total of 800 prescriptions were collected and studied of which 76 (9.5%) belonged to patients from the geriatric population. Majority of the patients were in the age group of 61-70years (52.63%). Spondylosis (42.10%) was the most common indication for patients attending Orthopaedics OPD. Average number of drugs per prescription was 3.05 with a range between 1 and 5. Only 5.17% drugs were prescribed using generic name. Utilization from the essential drug list was 39.65%. The percentage of encounters in which an antibiotic and injection prescribed was 0% and 10.34% respectively. Of the total drugs prescribed 35% were FDCs. The most routinely prescribed drugs among the various classes were NSAIDs 34% followed by gastroprotectives (25%). The assessment of prescriptions with regard to completion and legibility was satisfactory.

Conclusions: Current study pointed out deficiencies like polypharmacy, low prescribing of drugs by generic names, low prescribing of drugs from the essential drug list and higher use of FDCs. Use of antibiotics and injections was satisfactory and acceptable. Legibility and completion of prescription format was largely satisfactory. Proper strategies to rectify these deficiencies can ensure safe and effective treatment for geriatric patients.


Drug utilization, Essential drug list, Geriatric, Generic name

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