Drug utilization pattern in a neonatal intensive care unit at tertiary care hospital attached to a medical college in Southern Karnataka, India


  • Keerthi Budnoor Jayaram Department of Paediatrics, Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences, Mandya, Karnataka, India
  • Usha D. Department of Paediatrics, Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences, Mandya, Karnataka, India
  • Prem Bhushal Intern, Bharathi College of Pharmacy, Mandya, Karnataka, India




Drug utilization, Neonates, Neonatal intensive care unit, Prescription, Rational drug use


Background: Neonates and in particular preterm neonates belongs to the most vulnerable population. A neonatal intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a highly specialized unit that provides high quality skilled care to critically ill new newborn, premature or low birth weight babies. Apart from facilities for continuous clinical and biochemical monitoring, NICU management involves the use of wide range of medications. Irrational prescription of drug is common in clinical practice, important reason being lack of knowledge about drug prescription. Developing countries have limited funds available for health care and drugs so it becomes very important to prescribe drugs rationally. The present study was done to find out the drug utilization pattern and improve the rational use which aids in the improvement of neonatal care.  

Methods: The study was retrospective study in NICU of tertiary care hospital attached to MIMS, Mandya for a duration of 6 months. Data extraction sheet were used to collect the information regarding demographic details, maternal and delivery details, indication for admission, final diagnosis and medications administered. Data collected were evaluated for the category of prescribed, based on World Health Organization Anatomical Therapeutic Committee (WHO classification system and were analyzed using SPSS. WHO drug utilization core indicators were also evaluated.

Results: Among 400 neonates admitted in NICU during the study period, 53.7% were males and 46.2% were females. There were 29.7% preterm born neonates. The maximum number of neonates were admitted in early neonatal period (87.25%). Neonatal sepsis (37.9%) and Birth asphyxia (11.6%) were the most common indications for admission. The total number of drugs prescribed was 1428 and the average number of drugs per neonate was 3.57. Preterm (<37weeks) and low birth weight (<2.5Kg) were exposed to significantly higher number of drugs. The most frequently prescribed therapeutic class of drugs was anti-infectives (60.36%), followed by drugs of central nervous system (7. 84%). Among the anti-infectives, the most commonly prescribed drugs were Ampicillin (59%), followed by gentamycin (42.5%). High end antibiotics like carbapenems, colistin’s and linezolid were used in less than 5% of cases.

Conclusions: Drug use in neonates should be minimal and focus on the importance of therapeutic treatment guidelines establishment in hospital to control the over usage of antibiotics.


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