Drug prescribing, prescription errors and prescription legibility at a primary healthcare center in a semi-urban community, South-South of Nigeria




Amassoma, legibility of prescription, prescription errors, prescribing practice


Background: Routine assessment of prescriptions written at health facilities is essential to determining rationality of drug use in a bid to improve health outcomes in patients receiving treatments. This study was aimed at assessing prescription pattern, errors, and legibility, including prescribing practice at Amassoma Comprehensive Health Center, Bayelsa State, South-South, Nigeria.

Methods: Total enumeration of appropriately documented 233 prescriptions of patients, who attended clinics at the study center from January 01 to December 31, 2020, was conducted. The prescriptions were assessed for errors, legibility and drug use. Also, prescribing practice at the center was assessed using selected WHO prescribing indicators. The SPSS v23.0 was employed for data analysis, and all data generated were presented in simple frequencies, percentages, and average values.

Results: Anti-infectives (457, 40.2%) were the most prescribed. A total of 2,392 errors were encountered, at 10.3 errors per prescription. Errors of omission related to drugs (1465, 61.2%) were the most observed, followed by errors of omission related to prescriber (623, 26.1%), and lastly, errors of commission (304, 12.7%). Meanwhile, missing information on quantity of medication to supply (1127, 99.2%) and prescriber's department (201, 86.3%) were the most noticeable among errors of omission related to drugs and prescribers, respectively, while drug-drug interactions (198, 17.4%) accounted for the most encountered of all errors of commission. Only a quarter (58, 24.9%) of all prescriptions seen were clearly legible, and none of the selected prescribing indicators was within the referenced standards.

Conclusion: Majority of the prescriptions contained mostly anti-infectives. Most were not completely legible and were fraught with several errors. In all, prescribing practice at the study center was suboptimal.

Author Biography

Timothy G. Anthony, Department of Pharmacy Technician Studies, School of Allied Medical Sciences, College of Health Technology, Otuogidi, Bayelsa State, Nigeria

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice, Faculty of Pharmacy, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, Nigeria


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How to Cite

Ganiyu, K. A., Olotu, E. S., & Anthony, T. G. (2023). Drug prescribing, prescription errors and prescription legibility at a primary healthcare center in a semi-urban community, South-South of Nigeria: https://doi.org/10.51412/psnnjp.2023.30. The Nigerian Journal of Pharmacy, 57(2), 700–708. Retrieved from https://psnnjp.org/index.php/home/article/view/494