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Int J Clin Pharm. 2011 Apr;33(2):246-51. doi: 10.1007/s11096-011-9487-0. Epub 2011 Feb 25.

The outpatient utilization of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in South Bačka District, Serbia.

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Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Clinical Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia.



To evaluate the utilization of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in South Bačka District (SBD), Serbia.


State-owned and private pharmacies in SBD, a northern district of Serbia, with 605,720 inhabitants (according to the 2008 census).


Data on the number of packages, size of packages, and retail price of NSAIDs (Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) group M01A) from 1 January to 31 March 2008 were obtained from all state-owned and private pharmacies in SBD. This included NSAIDs bought without prescription and those issued by prescription (on the Health Insurance Companies List for Reimbursement). The number of defined daily doses/1000 inhabitants/day (DDD/1000 inh/day) was calculated. Within the DU90% (drug utilization 90%) segment, the proportion of high-, medium- and low-risk NSAIDs with respect to the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding was determined. Price/DDD was also calculated.


Consumption of drugs expressed as DDD/1000 inh/day.


The total consumption of NSAIDs over a 3-month period was 48.31 DDD/1000 inh/day. Only four drugs were within DU90%: diclofenac, ibuprofen, nimesulide and meloxicam (62.14, 19.87, 5.77, and 5.73% of total NSAID consumption, respectively). All dispensed NSAIDs within the DU90% segment except nimesulide (which was exclusively purchased without prescription) were nearly equally purchased without prescription and issued by prescription. The average price per DDD within the DU90% segment was 0.17 Euro/DDD, whereas it was 0.30 Euro/DDD for NSAIDs beyond the DU90% segment. The pattern of use of NSAIDs according to their GI risk showed that medium-risk diclofenac accounted for 66.45%, whereas low-risk ibuprofen was estimated to be 21.25% within the DU90% segment.


Factors other than evidence-based medicine (such as poor health education in the past that led to long-lasting consequences on the cultural behaviour of the general population as well as on the prescribing habits of physicians) have a dominating impact on the use of NSAIDs in SBD. Targeted education from independent sources in the prescribing, dispensing and use of drugs is required to improve the quality of prescription and use of NSAIDs in Serbia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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