Evaluation of Prescriptions Dispensed in the Outpatient Pharmacies of a University Teaching Hospital in Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Aristides B Audax
Eva P Muro


Background: Prescriptions written in daily medical practice are associated with increasing numbers of prescription writing errors. Both omission and commission errors are encountered and caused by prescribers of different cadres. Prescribing errors are associated with adverse drug events (ADEs), which are harmful to patients. This study aimed to determine the common prescription errors, the categories of prescribers who commit prescription errors, and the most prescribed drugs in the outpatient pharmacies in general practice at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC).

Methods: A prospective cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted at KCMC, a referral and teaching university hospital. All prescription dispensed on 2 June 2017 from the hospital's 2 outpatient pharmacies were reviewed, and our analysis determined the different types of prescription errors. A form designed by the authors was used to collect data from the prescription forms.

Results: A total of 242 prescriptions were studied, and the most common omission errors were missing patients' weight (n=231, 95.5%), missing patients' address (n=213, 88.0%), missing drug dosage (n=159, 67.1%), and commission errors were due to wrong drug strength (n=10, 2.0%). Intern doctors were leading in writing prescriptions with errors (n=352, 25.6%), followed by residents (n=199, 14.5%), registrar doctors (n=167, 12.1%), and specialists (n=45, 3.3%). The most commonly prescribed drugs were antibiotics (n=120, 17.3%), antihypertensives (n=81, 11.7%), and analgesics (n=86, 12.4%).

Conclusion: There were significant prescription errors at the study site, hence an intervention is needed to improve skills of prescribers. Educational interventions can substantially contribute to minimising such errors. Initaiting  programmes and short courses on prescription writing before medical internship at the health facility might also be helpful.

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