Know About Rational Drug Therapy

ID-100202723Before we discuss about rational drug therapy, it is important to know what “rational drug therapy” is? According to World Health Organization (WHO) rational use of medicines means “patients receive medications appropriate to their clinical needs, in doses that meet their own individual requirements, for an adequate period of time, and at the lowest cost to them and their community”.

How serious is the problem of irrational drug therapy globally?

According to WHO estimate, the problem of irrational prescription of medications is serious

  • Globally more than half (50%) of the medicines are prescribed, dispensed and sold inappropriately (irrationally). The problem is more acute in developing countries, where the regulation is not strict.
  • The WHO estimate also point out that more than half (more than 50%) of patients fail to take medicines correctly, which are prescribed and dispensed to them.
  • More than 50% of all countries globally do not implement the basic policies for promotion of rational use of medicines
  • In most developing countries less than 40% of patients in public sector and less than 30% of patients in private sector are treated according to clinical guidelines.

What are the common problems (causes) of irrational drug therapy?

The common problems or causes of irrational drug therapy includes,

  • Polypharmacy (prescribing too many medicines for a single patient or prescribing more medicines than his/her clinical condition demands),
  • Overuse or unnecessary use of antibiotics (e.g. use of antibiotics in case of viral infections),
  • Failure to adhere to clinical guidelines by medical practitioners
  • Self-medication by patients
  • Lack of control by authorities

What are the consequences of irrational use of medicines?

The consequences of irrational use of medicines are serious and pose a threat to humankind. They consequences are

  • Resistance to antibiotics, which requires the need to develop newer antibiotics, which in turn need huge investment in research
  • Adverse and unwanted drug reactions
  • Therapeutic errors in treating patients
  • Loss of patient confidence in medical professionals
  • Loss of resources to individual, community and nation, and increased cost of treatment for polypharmacy, unnecessary use of antibiotics
  • Increased morbidity and mortality

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