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EP Gharoro, AA Igbafe
Med Sci Monit 2000; 6(1): CR84-87
Background: Drugs taken by pregnant women could have profound effect on pregnancy outcome for both the mother and fetus. In most developing country regulation of drug is poor, access is unrestricted and abuse of drugs especially antibiotics is rampant. The study was undertaken to determine the pattern and extent of drug consumption amongst pregnant women in Benin City
Methods: A cross-sectional study of 1200 pregnant patients at various gestational ages was undertaken, using a structured questionnaire to obtain details of the extent and character of drug use before or during pregnancy.
Findings: Folic acid was taken by 76.08% of all the pregnant patients, while anti-malarial drugs were taken by 19.75%; 15.83% used the drugs on doctors' prescription and 3.92% without a doctor's prescription. The proportion of the mothers that consumed native herbs was 12.08%. The use of native medication was more prevalent amongst nulliparous mothers (41.82%). Native herb consumption decreased with increase in parity. Both educated and illiterate mothers consumed herbal medications. Less than 1% of the mothers smoke cigarettes.
Interpretation: In Benin City drug use in pregnancy is characterized by a pattern of low consumption except folic acid and native herbs. This could be a major setback for any program of drug intervention, as in chemoprophylaxis for malaria in pregnancy. Much resource will be needed for patients' education for successful implementation of any planned program in the community.