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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 43  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 345-349

Drug use in pregnancy: Knowledge of drug dispensers and pregnant women in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Unit of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, School of Pharmacy, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Correspondence Address:
Appolinary Kamuhabwa
Unit of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, School of Pharmacy, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0253-7613.81503

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More than 90% of pregnant women take prescription or non-prescription drugs at some time during pregnancy. In general, unless absolutely necessary, drugs should not be used during pregnancy because many of them are harmful to the fetus. Appropriate dispensing is one of the steps for rational drug use; so, it is necessary that drug dispensers should have relevant and updated knowledge and skills regarding drug use in pregnancy. To assess the knowledge of drug dispensers and pregnant women regarding drug use in pregnancy, focusing on four commonly used drugs that are teratogenic or cause unwanted effects to the fetus and babies. The study was conducted in two parts: consumers' perception and providers' practice. It was a cross-sectional study involving visits to 200 private retail community pharmacies (as simulated client) within Temeke, Ilala and Kinondoni municipals in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The second part of the study was conducted at the antenatal clinics of the three municipal hospitals in Dar es Salaam. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to gather information from pregnant women. In total, 200 pregnant women were interviewed. Out of 200 drug dispensers, 86 (43%) were willing to dispense artemether-lumefantrine (regardless of the age of pregnancy), 56 (29%) were willing to dispense sodium valproate, 104 (52%) were willing to dispense captopril and 50 (25%) were willing to dispense tetracycline. One hundred and thirty-three (66.5%) pregnant women reported that they hesitated to take medications without consulting their physicians, 47 (23.5%) indicated that it was safe to take medications during pregnancy, while 123 (61.5%) mentioned that it was best to consult a doctor, while 30 (15%) did not have any preference. Sixty-three (31.5%) women reported that they were aware of certain drugs that are contraindicated during pregnancy. It is evident that most drug dispensers have low knowledge regarding the harmful effects of drugs during pregnancy. Drug dispensing personnel should be considered part of the therapeutic chain and, if appropriately trained, they will play a very important role in promoting rational use of medicines.


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