Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 652

Full Length Research Paper

Prescription Errors Prevalent in Four Units of a University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria

Oyedunni S. Arulogun*, Simon K. Oluwole and Musibau A. Titiloye
Department of Health Promotion and Education, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 30 September 2011
  •  Published: 30 November 2011


Errors in prescription in medical practice are a source of adverse events that can be prevented. This study aimed at assessing the prevalence of prescription errors and predisposing factors in four units (medical out-patient, general out-patient, wards, accident and emergency) of the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan. Twelve error descriptors developed from literature review were used to review the 1866 prescription sheets randomly selected from the pharmacy points for the year 2006 while 10 in-depth interviews were conducted to identify the predisposing factors. Dispensing practices were also observed for detection and correction of prescription errors. A total of 1424 (76.3%) prescription errors were detected which comprised illegitimacy (52.2%), omission (23.7%), style (18.5%), wrong dose (4.9%) and irrational prescription (0.8%). More of the errors (33.6%) were found among the prescriptions from the wards while only 10% of the errors were detected and corrected during the process of dispensing. The in-depth interviews revealed that workload and non-conducive work environment adversely affected productivity of prescribers and dispensers. Regular in-service training for prescribers and dispensers, equitable distribution of workload and institution of a quality assurance mechanism for monitoring the drug use system in this institution is advocated.


Key words: Prescription error, health workers, drugs.