Background: Antibiotic resistance has become a global pandemic. The rapid emergence of resistant bacteria worldwide endangers the efficacy of antibiotics. The antibiotic crisis has been attributed to the misuse of medications among other factors.
Objectives: The objective of the study was to document the current pattern of antibiotic use in community pharmacies in Lagos state.
Methods: An observational cross-sectional prospective study was employed using a detailed indicator encounter form in 20 community pharmacies in Lagos state.
Main outcome measure: Percentage antibiotic encounters, name, dosage, quantity and cost of antibiotics dispensed, percentage of antibiotics dispensed per prescription source and health problems encountered.
Results: A total of 1980 patient encounters were observed giving rise to 600 antibiotic drug items dispensed. Percentage antibiotic encounter was 27.5%. The class of antibiotics with the highest frequency were the penicillins at 35%. The antibiotic most frequently used was amoxicillin+clavulanic acid at 12.2%. Tablets and capsules were the highest dosage form dispensed. Of the antibiotics dispensed, 26% were on the strength of a doctor’s prescription, 59% of the antibiotics were dispensed as brands and 82% were purchased as full courses. Typhoid fever was the most frequent health problem encountered. Significant association was found between prescription source and dose dispensed, prescription source and dispensing of brands or generic, prescription source and cost of antibiotics and between prescription source and class of antibiotics.
Conclusion: Antibiotic use in community pharmacies in Lagos State does not follow the available legislation on prescription only medicine in Nigeria and needs to be attended to by the appropriate regulatory and professional bodies.