Prescribing patterns of gastrointestinal drugs in private clinics in Benghazi-Libya

Nouh M. H. Aljarari, Suleiman I. Sharif, Abdulrahman K. Jaber, Abdelhadi S. Garini, Awad S. Awad, Faraj A. Hamed


Background: Prescription analysis can pinpoint areas of improvement in encounters issued by prescribing physicians. The present study was carried out to analyze prescribing trends for outpatients among consultants in the city of Benghazi-Libya.

Methods: A total of 4000 prescriptions were collected from private pharmacies around the city of Benghazi, Libya. Indicators addressed included the patient's name, age, sex, and address, and the physician's name, address, and signature. The percentage of prescriptions lacking this information was calculated. Drugs prescribed by dosage, duration of treatment were also considered. The study focused on the commonly prescribed classes of gastrointestinal drugs and the most frequently prescribed drug of each common class. No attempt was made to evaluate the incidence of various gastrointestinal disorders. Results are expressed as frequency and percentage of prescribed medicines.

Results: Information present in prescriptions and pertaining to the patient were name (2972, 74.3%), age (468, 11.7%), date of visit (107, 2.7%) while those for prescriber were name (1902, 47.6%) and signature (3612, 90.3%). None of the prescriptions contained sex of patient, his/her address, or registration number of the prescriber. All prescribed drugs were in brand names. Polypharmacy was not evident as all prescriptions contained 1-2 drugs.

The number of prescriptions with a gastrointestinal drug(s) counted to 421 (10.5%) out of the total 4000 prescriptions. The most commonly prescribed classes of gastrointestinal drugs include in order, anti-hyperacidity, anti-emetics, anti-spasmodic, laxatives and anti-diarrheal with the most frequently prescribed drug of each therapeutic class being omeprazole (67, 48.9%), metoclopramide (57, 57%), hyoscine-N-butyl bromide (42, 55.3%), bisacodyl (44, 59.5%) and loperamide (30, 88.3%) respectively.

Conclusions: The results of the present study indicate the need to improve prescribing among physicians, a task that can be achieved through inclusion of related topics such as prescription writing and rational drug use in undergraduate curricula and continuing medical educational programs.


Drug use indicators, Gastro-intestinal drugs, Prescription analysis

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