Patterns of drug prescribing in a hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Original article


Sharif SI, Al-Shaqra M, Hajjar H, Shamout A, Wess L

Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy. University of Sharjah, PO Box 27272, Sharjah-UAE. Suleiman I. Sharif ; Email:

Libyan J Med AOP: 070928


To determine the pattern of drug prescription by consultants in a private hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 1190 prescriptions were collected from the hospital’s pharmacy over 30 days. In total, 2659 drugs were prescribed. The mean number of drugs per encounter was 2.2. Only 4.4% of all drugs prescribed were generic. Polypharmacy was observed in only 7.5% of all encounters. Information about the prescribing physician and the patient was invariably deficient. Name of patient, age, and gender were absent in 2.9%, 9.7%, and 12% of prescriptions, respectively. In addition, none of the prescriptions mentioned address, diagnosis, or allergy of the patient. Name of physician, signature, speciality and license or registration number were omitted in 12.2%, 10.3%, 20.3%, and 54.9% of prescriptions. The most commonly prescribed therapeutic classes of drugs (and principal drug in each class) were as follows: 23.4% non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, Diclofenac sodium being 51.6%), 21.4% antibiotics (amoxicillin-clavulanate 13.5%), and 11.5% gastrointestinal drugs (GI, Hyoscine-N-butylbromide 28.1%). Other therapeutic classes included endocrine drugs (6.1%), vitamin supplements (5.9%), nasal decongestants (4%), antihistaminics (3.8%) and cardiovascular drugs (2.6%). Antibiotic injections accounted for 7.4% of all antibiotics prescribed, which was equivalent to 1.6% of all prescriptions. Other agents prescribed in small proportions of encounters collectively amounted to 21.3%. This study reveals the prescription trends, and indicates possible areas of improvement in prescription practice.

Keywords: Patterns, prescribing, hospital, analysis