Indicators of rational prescription of medicines: feasibility of application in institutions in the Americas

Dorati et al.


Evaluate the feasibility of monitoring the quality of use of medicines in health institutions in countries of the Region of the Americas by means of rational prescription indicators.


A quantitative study of the use of medicines was conducted during the period 2016-2018. Rational prescription indicators were developed and selected in accordance with international reference values and the best available evidence for: 1) anti-inflammatory drugs: prescription of ibuprofen and/or naproxen as a percentage of all prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; 2) oral antidiabetics: metformin as a percentage of all prescribed antidiabetics, and metformin and/or sulfonylureas as a percentage of all prescribed antidiabetics; 3) insulins: crystalline insulin and NPH as a percentage of total prescribed insulins; and 4) antihypertensive drugs: angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs-II), and thiazide diuretics as a percentage of all prescribed antihypertensives. The defined daily dose (DDD) per 1 000 inhabitants was used as a measure of consumption per institution


Prescription of metformin as a percentage of all antidiabetics was lower than the value of the reference indicator (27.9%-67.6% vs. 88%), while the prescription of metformin and/or a sulfonylurea was comparable with that value (80.9%-97.5% vs. 88%). The values of NPH, crystalline, and NPH/crystalline insulin in relation to all prescribed insulins were variable with respect to the reference indicator (37.1%-100% vs. 75%). Prescription of ibuprofen and naproxen was below the value of the indicator (20%-50% vs. 80%). The percentage of ACE inhibitors, ARBs, and thiazides with respect to all antihypertensives ranged from 65.2%-77.2% to 65%, consistent with the value of the proposed indicator.


The feasibility of applying the selected and constructed indicators of rational prescription was demonstrated. These indicators provide useful information for analyzing the quality of prescription in health institutions in countries in the Region and are a useful tool for periodically monitoring it.

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Original research