Variability of prescriptions in prevailing indications in primary care: a multicenter study. Study of Prescriptions in Primary Care (GEPAP)

J. M. Arnau de Bolós, J. M. Bordas Julve, J. Casajuana Brunet, E. Diogène Fadini, E. Hernández Huet, R. Llop Rius, M. Mata Cases, X. Mundet Tudurí

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: It seems convenient to have information on how drugs are used in everyday's practice in order to be able to make drug selection proposals. The aim of this study was to describe the prescription profile in a number of prevalent indications and its variability among the participating centres. DESIGN: Cross-sectional descriptive study. SETTING: Four Primary care centres. PARTICIPANTS: Each of the 32 participating physicians collected information on 200 consecutive patients who received a prescription between October 1994 and January 1995. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: 5932 patients, with a mean age of 56 years (SD = 18 years) were included. We analysed the prescriptions they received for hypertension (988 patients), hyperlipidaemia (254), peptic ulcer (PU) (136), nonulcer dyspepsia (271), chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD) (293), asthma (134) and depression (261). We describe the number of different drugs used (range: 14 for PU-63 for hypertension), the number of drugs that accounted for 90% of the prescriptions (range: 5 for PU-20 for depression), the number of recently marketed drugs (range: 0 for PU-9 for hypertension) and the proportion of prescribed drugs they accounted for (range: 0% for PU-12.4% for depression). We found an important variability among the participating centres in all the considered indications; for instance, statins for hyperlipidaemia. CONCLUSION: A rather high variability in prescription habits among participating centres was found. Prescription was highly concentrated in a few number of drugs, and the use of recently marketed drugs accounted for less than 10% of all prescriptions, although data show variability according to the considered indications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-423
JournalAtencion primaria / Sociedad Española de Medicina de Familia y Comunitaria
Volume22
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998

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