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Few studies have systematically characterized drug-prescribing patterns, particularly at the primary care level in Nigeria, a country disproportionately burdened with disease. The aim of this study was to assess the disease profiles and drug-prescribing pattern in two health care facilities in Edo State, Nigeria. The medical records of 495 patients who attended a primary or secondary health care facility in Owan-East Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria, between June and November 2009 were reviewed. Disease profiles and drug prescribing patterns were assessed. Data were analyzed based on the World Health Organization Anatomic Therapeutic Chemical classification system, and core drug prescribing indicators. Five hundred and twelve clinical conditions were identified. Infectious disease was most prevalent (38.3%), followed by disorder of the alimentary tract (16.4%). Malaria was responsible for 55.6% of the infectious diseases seen, and 21.3% (109/512) of the total clinical conditions managed at the two health facilities during the study period. Consequently, anti-infective medications were the most frequently prescribed medicines (21.5%), followed by vitamins (18.2%). Use of artesunate monotherapy at both facilities (15.7%), and chloroquine at the primary health facility (24.9%) were common. Paracetamol (41.8%) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (24.9%) were the most frequently used analgesic/antipyretic. At the primary health care facility, dipyrone was used in 21.6% of cases. The core drug prescribing use indicators showed inappropriate prescribing, indicating poly-pharmacy, overuse of antibiotics and injectio. Inappropriate drug use patterns were identified at both health care facilities, especially with regard to the use of ineffective antimalarial drugs and the use of dipyrone.
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