The patterns of prescription drug use in Suriname in the year 2017 have been determined with the purpose of obtaining indications about the distribution of disease in the country. The claims database of the State Health Foundation (Staatsziekenfonds, SZF) of Suriname was used for calculations of prescription rates of the fifty most prescribed drugs overall and after stratification according to gender, age, and residence of the insured persons. Information in the database had been de-identified, and the prescribed medicines had been coded according to the Anatomic Therapeutic Chemical Classification System. Statistically significant differences among the prescription rates were assessed with the two-sample test of proportions using normal theory method and x2 Goodness of Fit tests (p < 0.05). Additionally, the Bonferroni adjustment was used to adjust for type 1 error inflation resulting from multiple comparisons. Overall, drugs for the cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculo-skeletal systems had the highest prescription rates (p < 0.001). Furthermore, rates were generally higher in females than in males, in the older age groups than in younger individuals, and in the coastal regions compared to the country's interior (p < 0.001). These findings are largely in line with data found in the literature and support the use of this pharmacoepidemiological approach to assess the distribution of disease in Suriname.
Key words: Suriname, distribution of disease, pharmacoepidemiology, claims database, prescription drugs.
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