oa Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases - Antimicrobial prescribing in South Africa using a large pharmacy database: a drug utilisation study : original research - autopsies at an academic hospital

Volume 30, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2312-0053



The primary aim was to determine the general prescribing trends of antimicrobial drugs to patients whose prescriptions were dispensed by community pharmacies. A retrospective, cross-sectional drug utilization study was conducted on 2010 data of a national community pharmacy group in South Africa. A total of 660 500 patients received 1 576 593 antimicrobial products during 2010. The average age of patients was 34.23 (SD=19.92) years. Most patients were female (58.32%). Patients between 40 and 49 years received the highest average of 3.22 antimicrobial prescriptions during the year. Beta-lactams were the most often prescribed (34.56% of antimicrobial prescriptions), followed by antiviral agents (20.92%) and quinolones (11.12%). Differences were observed between females and males with respect to the prescribing frequency of different antimicrobial classes (x2=12763; d.f.=11; p<0.0001), especially between antifungal agents and beta-lactam antibiotics. Within the beta-lactam class, penicillins accounted for 76.47% of products and cephalosporins for 23.44%. The most frequently prescribed trade name product was a generic combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. Antiviral agents were the most expensive (R195.67), followed by aminoglycosides (R188.42). Prescribing peaked during the winter months. This study provides a general overview of antimicrobial prescribing that can be used for comparative studies with other population groups, African countries and for more specific investigations.

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