Irrational, unnecessary use of medicines rampant

Lalitpur, June 25

Speakers at a programme organised by Kist Medical College and Hospital here today said irrational use of drugs was rampant.

Dr Satish Kumar Deo, a clinical pharmacologist, said, “People have been using drugs such as contraceptives and abortion pills, antibiotics and pain killers, without medical prescription.”

The World Health Organisation defines medicine use as rational when patients receive appropriate medicines, in doses that meet their own individual requirements, for an adequate period of time and at the lowest cost, both to them and the community.

Likewise, irrational use of medicines is when one or more of these conditions are not met. This definition incorporates use by prescribers, dispensers and consumers.

Dr Deo said pharmacists were also selling prescription drugs without doctors’ recommendation.

Globally, more than half of all medicines are prescribed, dispensed or sold inappropriately and half of all patients fail to take their medication as prescribed or dispensed. There are many forms of inappropriate use — overuse and unnecessary use of antibiotics and injections, failure to prescribe according to clinical guidelines, inappropriate self-medication and non-adherence to prescribed dosing schedules by patients, according to the WHO.

A report by Pharmaceutical Horizon of Nepal shows that 57.60 per cent patients in the country are unaware about proper use of drugs. The organisation came up with the finding after a survey of 900 households from nine district of Tarai.

“People these days have become more aware about the use of drugs, but they still not use medicines judiciously,” said Santosh KC, information officer at Department of Drug Administration.