Prescribing for teenagers in New Zealand general practice

N Z Med J. 2003 Nov 21;116(1186):U685.

Abstract

Aim: To describe patterns of prescribing in general practice for New Zealanders aged 13 to 19 years.

Methods: The computerised records of 225 348 consulting patients from 48 general practices from around New Zealand were examined. A subset of 20 216 consulting patients (53.2% female) aged 13 to 19 years was selected and their prescribed medications analysed. General practice prescribing was described in terms of demographic characteristics and health-card eligibility.

Results: Patients aged 13 to 19 consult and are prescribed to less than the population as a whole (3.2 consultations versus 5.0, and 2.4 scripts versus 4.9 per annum). Females were prescribed to more frequently than males (2.7 prescriptions per consulting patient per annum versus 2.0). Patients with a community services card were prescribed to more frequently than those without (2.9 prescriptions per consulting patient per annum versus 2.0). Respiratory drugs were most frequently prescribed (primarily anti-asthma medications), followed by medications for the treatment of infections, the genito-urinary system (mainly oral contraceptives), dermatological medications, and medications for treatment of the nervous system (mainly analgesics).

Conclusions: Patients aged 13 to 19 consult and are prescribed to less frequently than the population as a whole. Asthma appears to be the major source of chronic illness for this population. Prescribing data presented here provide valuable baseline data for further research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Drug Prescriptions / classification
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies