Common prescriptions in ambulatory care in Lebanon

Ghassan N. Hamadeh, Lori M. Dickerson, Bassem R. Saab, Stella C. Major

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To describe prescribing practices of family physicians in a staff model health maintenance organization at a university health center in Lebanon and estimate costs of such practices for common diseases. METHODS: All prescriptions issued between July 1, 1997, and June 30, 1998, were prospectively collected. The diagnoses made by physicians at each encounter were recorded, and the total price of medications prescribed was calculated. The core prescribing indicators as defined by the World Health Organization and the mean annual prescription price per person for the 25 most common diagnoses were calculated. RESULTS: Prescribing occurred in 27.1% of encounters, with a mean of 1.6 medications per encounter; 17.5% of all prescriptions included an antibiotic. Generic drugs and essential drugs each accounted for 2.9% of all medications. Approximately 50% of the consultations for either respiratory or ear infections resulted in a prescription. Cervical spine syndromes and lipid metabolism disorders cost most among recorded diagnoses, with mean annual prescription prices per person of US $2016 and $1128, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The low rate of generic and essential drug prescribing, as well as the frequency of prescribing in respiratory infections, highlight the need for initiatives to help rationalize prescribing in primary care in Lebanon. Together with the diagnostic categories incurring high cost per person, these issues can be part of physician education or treatment guideline development. These measures may aid the government in its subsidy of primary health care centers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-640
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambulatory care
  • Family medicine
  • Lebanon
  • Pharmacoeconomics
  • Prescriptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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