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Arch Hellen Med, 18(4), July-August 2001, 379-388


Drug prescribing in Primary Health Care
Part III: The prospective study of Anogia Health Center

1Health Center of Anogia,
2Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, Department of Social Medicine, University of Crete, Grete, Greece

OBJECTIVE The prescribing patterns were examined in a primary health care area of Crete, in relation to the patients' age and sex and the diagnosis for prescribing. Recommendations are made for the improvement of these patterns.

METHOD A randomized default sample of 1,000 prescriptions was selected during the first 11 months of the year 1999. The sample was selected from a total of 20,000 prescriptions which were prescribed in the area. A questionnaire on the patient was completed for each prescription. A computerized analysis of the data was made.

RESULTS Of the prescriptions, 384 were prescribed for men and 616 for women and 41% of the patients were between 65 and 79 years old. Of the males' diagnoses, 54.1% and of the females' diagnoses 47.0% were included in the ten commonly recorded diagnoses. The ten most commonly prescribed drugs accounted for 20% of the total number of the drugs prescribed for both men and women. Of the prescriptions 35.4% were prescribed by contacting a third person and 63.7% were a repeat of an older prescription. Hypertension, respiratory infections, and ischemic heart disease were the most commonly recorded diseases. Paracetamol, furosemide, and certain antibiotics were the commonest recorded drugs for both sexes.

CONCLUSIONS The findings reflect the commonest diagnoses and drugs in the prescriptions of the study area. They also describe the patterns of prescribing in relation to the patients' age and sex. This study provides the basis for the formulation of guidelines, in an effort to improve the level of health services, and for the development of quality control programs for prescribing routines. A permanent registration of the prescribing patterns in this area is recommended.

Key words: Drugs, General practitioner, Prescription, Primary health care, Rural.

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