Study of patterns of prescribing antibiotics in geriatric patients admitted to the medical wards in a tertiary care hospital

Ankita Bist, Gajanan P. Kulkarni, Kashinath M. Gumma


Background: Evidence indicates high prevalence of inappropriate prescribing of medicines especially in the elderly. This can cause increased incidence of adverse drug reactions, morbidity, mortality and cost of treatment. Also inappropriate use of antibiotics promotes emergence of antimicrobial resistance. This study aims to study the prescribing patterns of antibiotics administered in geriatric patients, disease conditions for which the antibiotics were prescribed and adherence of these antibiotic prescriptions to the 18th WHO essential medicine list.

Methods: A prospective study was undertaken, over duration of 4 months at the government teaching hospital, Bidar Institute of Medical sciences, Bidar. Patients of either sex above 65 years of age admitted to medicine wards due to infections or those who acquired infection due to hospitalization and were on antibiotic treatment / prophylaxis were included. Data collection was done by scrutinizing the inpatient case sheets and investigation reports. Individual data was collected on preformed performa.

Results: Out of the 140 patients 44.2% patients were admitted for treatment of respiratory tract infections. 17.1% of the patients received antibiotics prophylactically. Cefotaxime was observed to be the most commonly prescribed antimicrobial agent. It was included in 50% of antibiotic prescriptions. It was observed that 90% of antibiotics prescribed were in adherence to the WHO essential drug list.

Conclusions: Polypharmacy is commonly observed practice in geriatric patients. Apart from increasing the cost of treatment it also promotes irrational prescription of drugs. Most of the prescriptions were in adherence with the WHO’s Essential Medicine List but antibiotics were mainly prescribed empirically.


Geriatric, Antibiotics, Prescribing patterns

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