Purpose: To evaluate the rational use of drug (RUD) patterns with a focus on prescribing and dispensing practices for providing information to the policy makers for further planning and identifying intervention strategies.
Method: A cross-sectional study conducted by interviewing 370 presenting outpatients, checking records of 900 out- patients with any cases and 798 outpatients with tracer diseases such as simple diarrhea, pneumonia and non-pneumonia (Flu) within 30 public health facilities (HFs) of five geographical areas with different socio-economic statuses grouped into high, middle and low. The WHO Operational Package for Monitoring and Assessing Country Pharmaceutical Situations indicators were used for data collection.
Results: Among the 3 items of drugs prescribed per average encounter, 97% were dispensed from HFs, of which 67% were adequately labeled, 84% were on the national essential drug (ED) list, and 78% were prescribed by generic name. Seventy-four percent of patients knew how to take the drugs they received, 47% of them received antibiotics (ABs), and 18% received injections. Forty-seven percent of under-five children with simple diarrhea received ABs, 77% received Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and 5% received anti-diarrhea drugs, and 91% of such under-five children with mid/moderate pneumonia received one of first line ABs, 15% received more than one ABs, and 41% of non-pneumonia (flu) patients of any age received ABs.
Conclusion: The use of drugs in Laos was not fully appropriate in terms of rationally prescribing and dispensing practices. Since prescriptions for AB, injections, non-ED, and non-generics are still high, information on drug use provided is insufficient. Therefore, continuous health education programs among both health staff and public are needed.