Assessment of drug use among pregnant women in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety


Purpose: To assess the drug use among antenatal care (ANC) attendant pregnant women in Addis Ababa. Methods: Institution-based cross sectional study was conducted reviewing the antenatal care follow up cards and interviewing pregnant women using semi-structured questionnaire. Results: A total of 1268 women were included in the study; of which 71.3% of them were prescribed at least one drug during pregnancy. Twelve point four per cent of the pregnant women who reported illness in the 2 weeks prior to the date of the interview, self-medicated themselves with either over the counter or prescription drugs or traditional herbs. The majority of the drugs prescribed were iron and vitamins followed by anti-infectives. Nearly 4% of the pregnant women were prescribed with drugs from category D or X of the US-FDA risk classification. Conclusion: A considerable proportion of pregnant women were exposed to drugs, including those with potential harm to the fetus. Furthermore, pregnant women self-medicated themselves with modern medications or traditional herbs. Health care providers should thus weigh the therapeutic benefits of the drug to the mother against its potential risk to the developing fetus before prescribing. In addition it is essential to routinely inquire about the woman's self-medication practice and provide the appropriate advice to the pregnant women. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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