Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on prescription patterns and antibiotic use: Insights from three military health facilities

Mustapha Muhammed Abubakar, Kathrin Loosli, Abdulmuminu Isah, Mustafa Usman, Oluwatobi Fatokun, Ibrahim Amidu, Yusuf Ibrahim, Mukhtar Dotun Ijaiya, Blessing Onyinye Ukoha-Kalu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted health systems globally and there are suggestions it impacted antibiotics prescribing patterns in clinical practice. Objectives: This study aimed to assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the prescribing patterns in three Nigerian military health facilities and investigate the factors associated with antibiotic prescriptions. Methods: This was a two-year cross-sectional retrospective study. Three hospitals and a total of 11,590 prescriptions were purposively and conveniently sampled respectively. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Network of Rational Use of Drugs (INRUD) prescribing indicators were used to assess for polypharmacy, injection use, use of antibiotics, use of generic drugs and prescriptions from essential drug lists for the periods of the pandemic and before the pandemic. Indicators from both periods were compared for statistical significance using the independent t-test. Generalized linear modelling was applied to assess the factors associated with antibiotic prescriptions. The relationship between the receipt of antibiotics and independent variables was presented using incident risk ratios (IRR). Results: Our findings showed that all five WHO/INRUD prescribing indicators were above the reference limit for the two-year study period. The study found there was a significant statistical difference between the COVID- and non-COVID-19 periods, with polypharmacy and antibiotic use indicators elevated during the pandemic compared to the latter. COVID-19 (IRR = 1.09), comorbidity (IRR = 1.74), pregnancy (IRR = 0.93), out-of-pocket payments (IRR = 1.10) and the inpatient department (IRR = 1.51) were associated with antibiotic prescriptions. Conclusions: This provides insight on impact of the pandemic on prescription patterns and advocates for stewardship programs in clinical settings to ensure the rational use of drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


  • Antibiotics
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • COVID-19
  • Prescribing


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