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Hindman: Less than half of all patients take medicines correctly

Hindman: Less than half of all patients take medicines correctly

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The findings of a recent study at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) will more than likely result in a change in some procurement and prescribing patterns there.{{more}}

This was revealed at a seminar on Saturday, September 18, at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown.

The move is expected to be of benefit to patients.

In the last quarter of 2009, a study was done at the Milton Cato Memorial (MCMH) to evaluate antimicrobial (drugs that includes antibiotics, antifungals, antiprotozoals, and antivirals) drug utilization to improve patient safety, preserve antibiotic sensitivity and optimize fiscal impact.

With regard to resistance, the study found that extreme bacterial resistance was found to be relatively uncommon among patients.

However, some frequently used antibiotics were found to be practically ineffective for several bacterial infections.

At the seminar, most of the presenters spoke of the importance of rational drug use.

Francis Burnett, Head of the OECS Pharmaceuticial Procurement Service Unit, in his presentation on the subject, explained that irrational medicine use, essentially the overuse, underuse or misuse of medicines, is a problem in any society and is difficult to eliminate.

He said while factors contributing to irrational drug use are varied, prescribers and dispensers play a central and crucial role in the practice.

Burnett pointed out that prescribers may have financial interest to prescribe more drugs, brand name and newly marketed drugs with exorbitant prices. He said they may also be influenced by the promotions of drug companies and/or their representatives, and inappropriate advertisement through the media.

Dr. Diane Hindman, a pharmacist, in a presentation which also addressed the issue of rational use of drugs, said the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of rational use of medication is that “patients need to receive medications that are appropriate to their clinical needs, in doses that meet their own individual requirements, for an adequate period of time, and at the lowest cost to them and their community.”

She said globally more than 50 per cent of medicines are prescribed, dispensed or sold inappropriately and less than half of all patients take medicines correctly.

“If someone has a viral infection often times physicians are sort of pushed to give the patient a prescription. So we often see antibiotics prescribed and in fact we all know that antibiotics are not going to do a darn thing for a viral infection,” said Hindman.

Giving details of a study carried out at the MCMH during the latter part of 2009, Hindman disclosed that in December 2009 there were 875 inpatient and 750 outpatient antimicrobial prescriptions dispensed by the hospital pharmacy.

She said of all patients getting medication at the hospital 43 per cent were inpatients and 40 per cent were outpatients.

On the matter of antimicrobial use on the wards, Hindman disclosed that two thirds of Maternity patients received an antimicrobial compared with about one third of the patients on the Female Medical Ward.

Hindman said the researchers were unable to understand why the data reflected such findings, but issues that they are not able to understand with the study can be investigated in the future.

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