Pattern of fluoroquinolones dispensing among community pharmacists in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Keywords:Antibiotics, Prescription, Resistance, Consultation, Pharmacy, Education
Community pharmacies, specialized drug stores within the neighborhood, are usually the first point of contact for treatment of common illnesses. This promotes access to medicines including antibiotics particularly fluoroquinolones sometimes without prescription. Besides making medicines accessible, this practice has also contributed to antimicrobial resistance. A six (6) months retrospective study was undertaken to determine the frequency of over-the-counter antibiotic requests and how readily pharmacists in community pharmacies in Port Harcourt metropolis dispensed antibiotics particularly fluoroquinolone without prescription. Results showed that all (100%) pharmacists dispensed antibiotics from their premises during the study period. In spite of reasonable awareness of and support for prescription-based dispensing of antibiotics, 70.3% of pharmacists still dispensed fluoroquinolones without prescriptions. Approximately 52% of pharmacists’ consultations resulted to antibiotics dispensing 62.6% of which were fluoroquinolones majorly recommended for typhoid fever due to their effectiveness and affordability by clients. The frequency of dispensing fluoroquinolone antibiotics in community pharmacies was in decreasing order of ciprofloxacin (36.1%)> ofloxacin (26.6%)> levofloxacin (17.7%)> pefloxacin (17%)> sparfloxacin (1.3%). In conclusion, a large proportion of antibiotics particularly fluoroquinolones are dispensed without prescription by community pharmacists in Port Harcourt metropolis regardless of the consequences. A review of government policies and institution of strong antibiotic stewardship programs with emphasis on regulation, monitoring and control of antibiotics use is urgently mandated. Continuing education, enlightenment and attitudinal changes with respect to antibiotics use is critical to forestall antibiotic resistance and ensure rational and cost- effective medical care.
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