Medicine prescribing patterns in HIV/AIDS and non HIV/AIDS children : a comparative study in the private health care sector of South Africa / Mocke, M.
Background: According to the United Nations AIDS Reference Group (2010) and World Health Organization (2010:2), approximately 33 million people in the world had HIV/AIDS in 2009 of which 2.6 million were children. More than 30 million of these individuals resided in low– and middle–income countries. South–Africa had the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world with an estimated 5.2 million patients in 2009 (Statistics South Africa, 2010:2). Although the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among children is reported to be high, little is known about other medication administrated concomitantly with their antiretroviral drugs. Objective: The general objective of this study was to investigate possible changes in the medicine prescribing patterns of HIV/AIDS and non–HIV/AIDS children. Methods: A quantitative, retrospective drug utilisation review was performed utilising medicine claims data of a South African pharmacy benefit management company. Data for a four–year period (Jan 1, 2005 to Dec 31, 2008) were analysed. The study population consisted of all children <=12 years divided into those receiving ARVs (designated HIV positive) and those without (designated HIV negative). Descriptive statistics such as average mean, standard deviation, t–test, d–values, and two way frequency tables were used to describe the results. Data were analysed using the Statistical Analysis System ® SAS 9.1 ® programme. Results: The study population (children <= 12 years) represented 16.2% (n = 197 323) of the total population in 2005, 15.4% (n = 193 346) in 2006, 15.6% (n = 142 049) in 2007 and 13.3% (n = 98 939) in 2008. Children with HIV/AIDS represented 0.2% (n = 197 323) of the study population in 2005 and increased to 0.4% (n = 98 939) in 2008, whereas the percentage of children without HIV/AIDS decreased from 99.8% (n = 197 323) in 2005 to 99.6% (n = 98 939) in 2008. The total number of HIV/AIDS children that also received other medication concomitantly with their ARVs increased from 96.5% (n = 402) in 2005 to 97.2% (n = 427) in 2008. Males with HIV/AIDS who used other medication represented 52.6% (n = 388) in 2005 and increased to 53.3% in 2008 while female HIV/AIDS patients represented 47.4% in 2005 and decreased to 46.7% in 2008. Prescriptions containing three ARV items represented 69.5% (n = 2 969) of the total number of prescriptions received by HIV/AIDS patients in 2005 and decreased to 67.7% in 2008. The combination of lamivudine, nevirapine and stavudine were the three products that appeared most frequently on prescriptions for HIV/AIDS children in the age group 0 <= 1 years and 1 <= 5 years from 2005 to 2008. In the age group 5 <= 12 years the combination most frequently prescribed was lamivudine, nevirapine and zidovudine. HIV positive children received 6.2 ± 4.62 prescriptions for other medication (non–ARVs) per year during 2005 compared to HIV negative children with 3.9 ± 3.71 (p < 0.0001, d = 0.5). In 2008 HIV positive children received 6.4 ± 5.02 prescriptions per year compared to HIV negative patients who received 4.36 ± 4.05 prescriptions (p < 0.0001, d = 0.5) in 2008. HIV negative children received more central nervous system items, endocrine items and autacoids than HIV positive children, whereas HIV positive children received more respiratory system agents, dermatological, ear, nose throat and antimicrobials items. Conclusion: The study showed that HIV positive children received significantly more prescriptions for other medication per year compared to their HIV negative counterparts. The top pharmacological groups mostly prescribed to both groups were respiratory agents, antimicrobials, analgesics, dermatological and ear, nose and throat items.
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