Open Access Peer-reviewed

Drug Prescribing Trends in a General Hospital in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Suleiman I. Sharif1, Alya H. Alabdouli1, Rubian S. Sharif2,

1Department of Pharmacy Practice & Pharmacotherapeutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

2Faculty of Dentistry, Ajman University of Science & Technology, Ajman, United Arab Emirates

American Journal of Pharmacological Sciences. 2013, 1(1), 6-9. DOI: 10.12691/ajps-1-1-2
Published online: August 25, 2017


Prescription analysis illustrates the prescribing behavior of physicians and pinpoint areas of improvement, if any, to help in rationalizing drug use. The present study was undertaken to investigate the trends of drug prescribing by consultants in a general hospital in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. 1239 prescriptions were collected from a governmental general hospital covering the month of April, 2011. The prescriptions were issued to outpatients. Prescribing patterns were analyzed using WHO indicators and focusing mainly on information related to patient, prescriber and the prescribed drugs. The average number of drugs per prescription was 2.2. All prescriptions were head lettered in name of hospital and were handwritten. Generic drugs were prescribed in 19.4% of all prescriptions. Name of patient, age, and sex were present in 100% and so the name, signature and official stamp of the prescriber. None of the prescription contained address of patient, diagnosis of complaint or a history of allergy. The dose of the prescribed drug with its frequency of administration and route of administration were present in 73.2% and 5.6% of prescriptions respectively whereas duration of treatment was mentioned in all prescriptions. Patients were prescribed one, two, three, four or more than four drugs per prescription in 21.3%, 22.18%, 18.56%, 11.94% and 25.66% respectively. The most commonly prescribed therapeutic classes of drugs were antihypertensive drugs (35.68%), antiepileptics (30.9%), antidiabetics (19.49%), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs 8.19%) and anticoagulants (5.57%). Diuretics (28.39%), beta blockers (25.93%) and angiotensin receptor blockers (24.28%) were the most commonly prescribed drugs of the first class (28.39%). The most frequently prescribed antiepileptic was sodium valproate (60.38%) and antidiabetic was metformin (58.71%). The present study pinpointed areas for further improvements to prescription writing and suggests that feedback through personal interviews and workshops may be an effective intervention to enforce rational drug use.


Trends, Prescribing, General hospital, Analysis
[1]  Sharif S.I, Al-Shaqra, M., Hajjar H, Shamout A. and Wess L, Patterns of drug prescribing in a hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Libyan J. Med. 3 (1): 10-12. March, 2008.View Article  PubMed
[2]  International Network for Rational Use of drugs and World Health Organization. How to investigate drug use in health facilities: selected drug use indicators. EDM Research Series No. 7 [WHO/DAP/93.1]. Geneva: World Health Organization. 1993.(Accessed October 10, 2012).
[3]  Quick JD, Hogerzeil HV, Velasquez G, and Rago L, Twenty-five years of essential medicines. Bull WHO. 80(11):913-14. 2002. PubMed
[4]  The Pharmaceutical Professions and Institutions.UAE Federal Law No: 4, 1983.(Accessed, October, 12,2012).
[5]  DeVries TP et al., eds. Guide to good prescribing: a practical manual. Geneva, World Health Organization;51-5(WHO/DAP/94.11). 1995 (Accessed October, 15, 2012).
[6]  Prescription writing. In: British national formulary, No. 41. London, British Medical Association & Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, 4-5. 2000.
[7]  Safe Writing. In: Lacy CF et al., eds. Drug information handbook,9th ed. Cleveland,Ohio,Lexi-comp,2001; 12.
[8]  Irshaid,YM;Al Homrany,M; Hamdi, AA; Adjepon-Yamoah, KK and Mahfouz,AA. Compliance with good practice in prescription writing at outpatient clinic in Saudi Arabia. East Mediterr Health J. 11(5, 6):922-28. 2005.
[9]  Balbaid OM, and Al-Dawood KM. Assessment of physician’s prescribing practices at Ministry of Health hospitals in Jeddah city,Saudi Arabia. Saudi Medical Journal, 19: 28-35. 1988.
[10]  Meyer TA. Improving the quality of the order-writing process for inpatient orders and outpatient prescriptions. American Journal of Health- System Pharmacy, 57 (Suppl. 4): S18-2. Dec., 2000. PubMed
[11]  Yousif E, Ahmed AM, Abdalla ME, and Abdelgadir MA. Deficiencies in medical prescriptions in a Sudanese hospital. East Mediterr Health J. 12(6):915-18.Nov. 2006. PubMed
[12]  Charatan F. Family compensated for death after illegible prescription. British Medical journal, 319: 1456.1, Dec., 1999.
[13]  Jun Z, Linyun L, Che Z, Yuanrong Y, Fengxi G and Heng Z. Analysis of outpatient prescription indicators and trends in Chinese Jingzhou Area between September 1and 10, 2006-2009. frican Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 5(2):270-275. Feb. 2011.
[14]  Guyon AB, Barman A, Ahmed JU, Ahmed AU, and Alam MS. A baseline survey on use of drugs at the primary health care level in Bangladesh. Bull WHO 72(2):265-71.Aug. 1994. PubMed
[15]  Hamadeh GN, Dickerson LM, Saab BR, and Major SC. Common prescriptions in ambulatory care in Lebanon. Ann Pharmacother. 35:636-40. May, 2001.View Article  PubMed
[16]  Vijayakumar TM, Sathyavati D, Subhashini T, Sonika G, and Dhanaraju MD. Assessment of prescribing trends and rationality of drug prescribing. International Journal of Pharmacology, 7 (1):140-43. 2011.View Article
[17]  Chobanian AV, Bakris GL, Black HR, Cushamn WC, Green LA and Izzo JL. The seventh report of the joint national committee on prevention, detection, evaluation and treatment of high blood pressure. The JNC 7 report. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 289:2560-75.May, 2003.View Article  PubMed
[18]  Ghadimi H, Esmaily HM, and Wahlstrom R. General practitioners' prescribing patterns for the elderly in a province of Iran. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 20(5):482-487. May 2011.View Article  PubMed
[19]  Nazima Y, Mirza N, Desi S, and Ganguly B. Prescribing pattern in pediatric out-patient department in Gujarat., Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacol., 4:39-42. Sep. 2009.
[20]  WHO., 2010. Model list of essential medicines 16th list. http;// {Accessed October 9, 2012).