Antibiotic dispensing in Egyptian community pharmacies: an observational study.

Sabry, N. A., S. F. Farid, and D. M. Dawoud, "Antibiotic dispensing in Egyptian community pharmacies: an observational study.", Research in social & administrative pharmacy : RSAP, vol. 10, issue 1, pp. 168-84, 2014.


BACKGROUND: Antibiotics are commonly dispensed medications from community pharmacies, and they are frequently prescribed for inappropriate indications. In many countries, they are easily accessible without prescriptions. The inappropriate use of antibiotics results in the emergence of resistant bacterial strains, which represents a considerable public health problem, particularly in developing countries.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to describe the pattern of antibiotics dispensing from Egyptian community pharmacies and to collect baseline descriptive data on the antibiotics dispensed and their appropriateness.

METHODS: A cross-sectional, observational study of antibiotic dispensing encounters was conducted at 36 randomly selected pharmacies in Greater Cairo, Egypt. Data were collected during one shift at each pharmacy. Structured questionnaires recording patient demographics, antibiotics dispensed and reasons for dispensing were completed for each antibiotic dispensing encounter. The data were descriptively analysed.

RESULTS: Overall, 1158 antibiotics were dispensed during the study period with a total cost of L.E. 24,487 (approximately 3,673 $USD). While self-medication and purchasing without medical prescriptions were common, representing around 23.3% of the antibiotics (n = 270), most antibiotics were prescribed by a doctor or dentist (n = 736, 63.6%). Pharmacist recommendations accounted for the remainder (n = 152, 13.1%). The main reasons for antibiotic use were respiratory tract ailments and gastroenteritis symptoms. The antibiotics most commonly dispensed were: penicillins, erythromycin, metronidazole, neomycin, clotrimoxazole and tetracyclines. Approximately 70% of the antibiotics dispensed on prescriptions were judged to be appropriate for the indications while this percentage was around 61% for antibiotics dispensed on pharmacist recommendation and patient's request.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study show that antibiotics are frequently dispensed from community pharmacies in Egypt without appropriate prescriptions and for inappropriate indications. These findings support the need for strict enforcement of pharmacy laws through improved inspection processes. They highlight the need for evidence-based guidelines and educational interventions to improve antibiotic prescribing and dispensing practices.