RATIONAL USE OF DRUGS
Rational use of drugs means using drugs that are safe and effective. These drugs should be available at reasonable prices and could be stored conveniently. The drug should be the appropriate drug for the disease, should be administered at the right dose for the right period of time
Following factors lead to irrational prescribing.
- A large number of commercial preparation: There is a large number of commercial preparations available in the market. It is difficult for physicians to make a rational choice from the wide range of drugs available. However, by applying sound criteria for selecting the most appropriate drug could be chosen.
- Physician’s decision-making process: The knowledge about the pharmacological properties of the drugs, and ability to deal with demanding patients, and aggressive drug promotion by pharmaceutical companies all influence the prescriber. Up-to-date knowledge about drugs and the ability to deal with the patient and the pharmaceutical companies will make it easier for the doctors to select the right formulation
The rational use of drugs can be accomplished by applying the following approach:
- Patients’ problem: Try to find an explanation for the patients’ problem. Take a detailed history of the illness and the drug history of the patient.
- Diagnosis: An accurate diagnosis is a prerequisite for rational therapy.
- Therapeutic objectives: This should be arrived at from the prognosis of the disease or relieving a symptom or preventing a disease or a combination of these.
- Selection of drug treatment (drug): The approach towards selection of drug treatment is divided into two phases:
a. Determine the options available to treat a health problem. Sometimes simple advice may be all that is necessary and drug therapy may not be needed
b. Evaluate the drugs on the basis of the following criteria: Efficacy, safety, suitability, cost, ease of administration, and storage requirements.
- Start the treatment: Describe the drug and start drug administration. Inform the patient about the beneficial effects as well as side effects of the drugs and how to deal with them.
- Result of treatment: The results of the drug therapy should be assessed periodically.