Prescribing Practices of Antibiotics for Acute Diarrhea in Children Aged Less than Five Years Old in Pakistan


  • Durr-e-Shahwar Siddiqui Supervisor Pharmacist, Al-Khidmat Pharmacy Services, Karachi, Pakistan



Acute diarrhea, clinical guidelines, prescribing practices, antibiotics


Introduction: Childhood diarrhea accounts for 16% of child deaths in Pakistan. Irrational prescribing of antibiotics, prescribing of antibiotics for viral infections, self-medication using antibiotics, prescription sharing, and refilling are very common practices in Pakistan. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prescribing practices of antibiotics for acute diarrhea in children less than five years of age at a Secondary Healthcare Hospital of Pakistan and to assess the compliance of prescribers with authentic clinical guidelines of treatment for childhood acute diarrhea.

Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted for a period of one year, from August 2020 to August 2021, at a Secondary Care Hospital of Karachi, Pakistan. It was based on the collection of outpatient clinic prescriptions of children aged less than five years and suffering from acute diarrhea. The regimens or suggested therapies by prescribers for acute diarrhea were assessed as per The National Institute of Care and Health Excellence and World Health Organization guidelines. A brief questionnaire was also distributed among prescribers, pharmacists, and caretakers of children to extract their opinions regarding antibiotic prescribing in acute diarrhea.
Results: Antibiotics were inappropriately prescribed for acute diarrhea among children in Pakistan because p-value was less than 0.05 (p<0.05) as calculated by descriptive statistical tools using Z-test. More than 90% prescriptions of acute diarrhea in children less than five years of age failed to comply with the authentic treatment guidelines.
Discussion: Due to the limited knowledge of prescribers regarding treatment guidelines and compliance of parents with antibiotic prescribing for diseases in children, irrational prescribing of antibiotics for acute diarrhea in children less than five years of age is frequent in Pakistan. Healthcare professionals must be adequately trained to ensure the proper management of acute diarrhea by following authentic clinical guidelines.

Conclusion: Antibiotics are irrationally prescribed for acute diarrhea in children less than five years of age in Pakistan and prescriptions do not comply with authentic clinical guidelines.


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How to Cite

Durr-e-Shahwar Siddiqui. (2022). Prescribing Practices of Antibiotics for Acute Diarrhea in Children Aged Less than Five Years Old in Pakistan. Journal of Pharmacy, 2(1), 8–15.



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