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J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2011 Jul;2(2):119-23. doi: 10.4103/0976-3147.83574.

Utilization patterns of central nervous system drugs: A cross-sectional study among the critically ill patients.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Gulf Medical University, UAE.



Critically ill patients often receive central nervous system drugs due to primary disorder or complications secondary to multiorgan failure. The aim of the study was to evaluate the current utilization pattern of central nervous system drugs among patients in the medical intensive care unit.


A prospective observational study carried out over a period of 1 year. The relevant data on drug prescription of each patient was collected from the inpatient case record. Drugs were classified into different groups based on WHO-ATC classification. The demographic data, clinical data, and utilization of different classes of drugs as well as individual drugs were analyzed.


A total of 325 consecutive patients were included for the analysis; 211 (65%) patients were males; 146 patients (45%) were above 55 years of age. Encephalopathy [63(19.38%)] and stroke [62(19%)] were the common central nervous system diagnoses. In a total of 1237 drugs, 68% of the drugs were prescribed by trade name. Midazolam (N05CD08) 142 (43.69%), morphine (N02AA01) 201 (61.84%), and atracurium (M03AC04) 82 (25.23%) were the most commonly used sedative, analgesic, and neuromuscular blocker, respectively. Phenytoin (N03AB02) 151 (46.46%) had maximum representation among antiepileptic agents.


Utilization of drugs from multiple central nervous system drug classes was noticed. Rational use of drugs can be encouraged by prescription by brand name.


Central nervous system; critically ill; drug utilization

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