Medical speciality and pattern of medicines prescription

A. Vallano, E. Montané, J. M. Arnau, X. Vidal, C. Pallarés, M. Coll, J. R. Laporte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To describe the prescribing patterns and their quality in relation to the prescriber's medical speciality in a defined population. Methods: The study was done on a random sample of all primary care medical prescriptions made through the social security system during 1 year in Andorra, a small European country. Number and type of prescribed medicines, prescribers' medical speciality and patients' age and gender were recorded. Medical specialities considered were General Practice, Paediatrics, Cardiology, Pneumology, Gynaecology, Ophthalmology and Other. A set of various quality indicators [World Health Organisation (WHO)/International Network for Rational Use of Drugs (INRUD) indicators and others] was used. Results: The number of medicines prescribed per encounter varied depending on the prescriber's medical speciality and patient's age. Cardiologists and pneumologists tended to prescribe more medicines than other medical specialities. Patients older than 65 years received more prescriptions than younger adults, mostly at the expense of cardiovascular drugs. The contribution of the various groups and subgroups of medicines and the scores of various prescribing indicators showed wide variability across the medical specialities. Conclusion: Prescribing patterns and indicators of prescription quality show wide variability depending on the prescriber's medical speciality. This has important implications for priority setting in information, continuous education and research. © Springer-Verlag 2004.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-730
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2004


  • Drug utilisation
  • Drug utilisation review
  • Quality indicators


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