The prescribing of medicines is critical in the treatment of diseases in general practice. Inappropriate prescribing can negatively influence the goals of treatment, which makes the assessment of the patterns of prescriptions essential. The objective of this study was to assess the medicines prescribing pattern in health facilities in the Northern Ghana, a developing economy in Africa, using the prescribing indicators recommended by the WHO and International Network of Rational Use of Drugs (WHO/INRUD). A prospective observational survey was used to collect data from 600 prescriptions between February and July of 2017 using a specially designed check list. Fifty randomly selected prescriptions each were collected from 12 facilities within the metropolis. Participating facilities were included in the study by systematic sampling that was purposive, convenience and random. Data was analysed in Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 18. The average number of medicines prescribed was (3.9). Antibiotics and injections were prescribed at a rate of 55 and 14%, respectively; while prescribing by generic name was 53%. Prescribing from the Essential Medicines List (EML) stood at 96%. Public facilities had better indicators compared with private: average number of drugs (3.5 vs 4.3, p < 0.001); percentage injections (13 vs 25, p = 0.002); percentage generic names (62 vs 45, p = 0.003). Percentage antibiotics (54 vs 56) and percentage from the EML (97 vs 94) were not different for public and private facilities. There is inappropriate prescription pattern of medicines, such as polypharmacy and over prescribing of antibiotics and injections. Prescribing by generic name although high was still lower than recommended.
Key words: Patterns prescription, medicines, indicators, adherence, overprescribing.
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