Assessment of antibiotic dispensing practices of community pharmacists in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria
Olutuase, Victory Onize
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Background: The irrational use of medicines is a global public health challenge, particularly in developing countries like Nigeria. One of the consequences of irrational medicine use is rising antimicrobial resistance, which continues to contribute to the increase in morbidity, mortality, and high cost of care, despite breakthroughs in medicine and new treatment options. Community pharmacists have been identified as contributors to antimicrobial resistance through their antibiotic dispensing practices. However, there is little research on community pharmacists who provide private healthcare in Nigeria. Aim: This study described the antibiotic dispensing practices of community pharmacists and factors associated with such dispensing practices in Jos, Nigeria. Methodology: The study used a cross-sectional descriptive design. Simple random sampling was used to select a sample of 84 community pharmacies out of a total of approximately 107 community pharmacies in Jos, and one community pharmacist from each community pharmacy. A research assistant was trained to administer the questionnaire along with the researcher and collect information on community pharmacists’ demographics, antibiotic dispensing practices, and the factors associated with those dispensing practices. The socio-demographic data was analysed via descriptive analytical tools such as simple percentages and crosstabulations. These tools were used to generate a descriptive picture of the data, patterns and associations using SPSS version 25. Quantitative content analysis was done on responses to scenario-based questions, and recommendations made as to how the dispensing of antibiotics could be improved. Ethical clearance was obtained from the University of the Western Cape Biomedical Research Ethics Committee and Jos University Teaching Hospital, while informed consent was obtained from all community pharmacists before the commencement of the study. Results: The majority of the community pharmacists (87%) indicated that patients could purchase antibiotics without prescription from their pharmacies, and most pharmacists (98%) asked for reasons why antibiotics were demanded for without prescriptions. While 58% indicated that patients could purchase partial quantities of prescribed antibiotics at their pharmacies, 96% investigated the reasons for partial requests, and 94% counselled on the right dosage and frequency of the prescribed antibiotics. Sixty-seven percent of the pharmacists indicated that one of the major reasons for dispensing antibiotics without prescription was self-medication by patients, while most (87%) indicated that financial constraint was a major reason why patients requested for partial quantities of prescribed antibiotics. Conclusion: The dispensing of non-prescribed and part-prescribed antibiotics is a common practice amongst community pharmacists in Jos, Nigeria. Enhancing the financial status of Nigerians, as well as ensuring stricter regulatory measures on antibiotic use, would help promote rational use of antibiotics and reduce rising antimicrobial resistance rates.