A wide range of medications are now available for the treatment of asthma and selection of the optimal treatment combination of agents is essential.
This study was designed to evaluate a self-reported drug prescribing pattern for asthma among Nigerian doctors in general practice.
It was a cross-sectional survey conducted among general practitioners in six states of Nigeria.
For acute severe asthma, 75.9% of the doctors prescribed intravenous methylxanthines, which was combined with oral or inhaled short-acting β2 agonists (SABA) by 56.3% of them. Systemic steroids were prescribed mainly via the intravenous route by 58.8% of them. Aberrant drugs such as antibiotics, antihistamines, and mucolytics were prescribed by 25.6% of them. For long-term, follow-up treatment of asthma, oral steroids, and oral SABA were commonly prescribed, while inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and ICS/LABA (long acting beta agonists) were infrequently prescribed. Aberrant drugs such as analgesics, antimalaria, and antihistamines were prescribed by 22.8% of them. About 48% of the doctors had never attended any form of update training on asthma management, whereas, only 16.3% attended update training on asthma within the last year preceding this study. Awareness of international guidelines on asthma treatment was poor among them with only 16.4% being able to mention any correct guideline on asthma management.
The poor anti-asthma prescribing behavior among these doctors is associated with a low level of participation at update training on asthma management and poor awareness of asthma guidelines. The Nigerian Medical Association and the Nigerian Thoracic Society should urgently address these problems.