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Drug prescribing pattern for wheezers below one year of age: A cross-sectional study at tertiary care hospital from Northeast India

Chandrakala Sharma, Arkojit Endow, Rubi Dey, Sudip Dutta.


Background: The quality of the drug prescription depends on the physician knowledge and, in turn, affects the overall patient management. Irrational use of medicines, particularly in vulnerable age group, leads to adverse drug events and eventually the cost of treatment. Usually, there have been studies on the children as a whole, but there is scanty literature for wheezers below 1 year age.

Aim and Objective: The present study was to understand the prescribing pattern for children below 1 year of age presented with wheezing and cough with or without fever in a tertiary care hospital.

Materials and Methods: The patients of age up to 1 year presented with fever and cough with or without respiratory distress were included in the study. The data pertaining to the sociodemographic and clinical information were collected after seeking ethical clearance from designated committee of the institute. Data were analyzed using statistical software SPSS version 20.0.

Results: A total of 432 drugs were found to be prescribed with average of 3.29 drugs per prescription prescribed for 131 patients, comprising mostly patients with lower respiratory tract infection (52) and viral wheeze (50) and others. Majority of the drugs were administered through inhalational route. The prescription recorded 126 (96.18%) bronchodilators followed by 82 (62.59%) antibiotics. Injection ceftriaxone was found to be the most prescribed antibiotics, and salbutamol was the most prescribed bronchodilators. Paracetamol was the only prescribed antipyretic.

Conclusion: Prescribing pattern during the study fulfilled the WHO drug prescribing guidelines. However, the use of generic names and maximum use of injectables throughout the prescription was observed. The failure of treatment adherence attributed to the maximum use of parenteral preparation, minimizing of which would improve the quality of treatment by lowering the burden of adverse effect of drugs.

Key words: Polypharmacy; Wheezers; Prescriptions; National Essential List of Medicine

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