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Shankar PR, Upadhyay DK, Subish P, Bhandari RB, Das B
Correspondence: Dr P Ravi Shankar, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction The proportion of the elderly population in Nepal, though low, is steadily increasing. Studies on drug utilisation among geriatric patients in Western Nepal, a region with the highest proportion of the elderly in all of Nepal, are lacking. The present study was carried out at the Manipal Teaching Hospital, a 700-bed teaching hospital in Pokhara, Western Nepal.
Methods The study was carried out from June 1, 2005 to May 31, 2006 using case records of discharged patients aged 60 years and older. This was an observational study that utilised a retrospective case notes review methodology. The microorganisms isolated on culture and their antibiotic sensitivity patterns were studied. Drug consumption was measured by the defined daily dose (DDD) per 100 bed-days. The mean cost of the drugs was calculated. The percentage of drugs prescribed by generic name and the percentages of fixed-dose combinations used were noted. The basic demographic information of older inpatients, drug utilisation patterns, drug consumption using DDD, organisms isolated and their antibiotic sensitivity patterns, and the mean cost of the drugs were studied.
Results A total of 548 patients were admitted. Hypertension, acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer were the most common illnesses among the patients. The mean number of drugs consumed by each patient was 7.73. Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were the most common microorganisms isolated. Ranitidine, multivitamins, amlodipine, ipratropium and dextrose normal saline were most commonly prescribed. The DDD per 100 bed-days of ranitidine and omeprazole (highest values) was 33.48 and 3.51, respectively. The mean cost of drugs was USD26.6, and antibiotics accounted for around 40 percent of the cost.
Conclusion The use of a high number of drugs, and of parenteral drugs and intravenous fluids, is a common problem. The prescription of generic drugs is low. Guidelines for the use of drugs in the elderly are required and further studies are needed on this issue.
Keywords: drug utilisation, geriatric drugs, prescribing guidelines
Singapore Med J 2010; 51(1): 28-34