Suleiman I. Sharif* and Rubian S. Sharif


Aims: This investigation was carried out as a pilot study to explore the use of medications during pregnancy in Sharjah-UAE. Methods: An anonymous pre-piloted questionnaire was distributed to 250 pregnant women attending the obstetrics and gynecology department in a governmental hospital. The purpose of the questionnaire was explained to each participant and their consent of approval to participate in the study was taken. The questions covered demographic characteristics, dealt with willingness of participants to take prescription or over-the- counter drugs, the most commonly used drugs during pregnancy and the actual use of drugs during pregnancy at each educational level. The source of medications used was also determined. Data are expressed as frequency and percentage. Results: The response rate was 84%. The majority (134, 63.8%) of respondents were Arabs and those with 1-3 children comprised 169 (80.5%) respondents. Again, most participants were with high school certificates (68, 32.4%) and university Bachelor degree (86, 41%). Pregnant women who expressed willingness to take prescription and OTC drugs totaled to 139 (66. 2%) and 71 (33.8%) respectively. The most commonly prescribed drugs include in order, vitamins and minerals, analgesics, antibiotics, antitussives, anti-peptic ulcer, antidiabetics, antihistamines and drugs for asthma. As sources of medications, the pharmacy ranked first with left over in home pharmacy second, followed by herbal stores, relative or friend and street market Conclusion: There is a tendency in pregnant women to use medicines during pregnancy particularly OTC drugs and this seems to be associated with the level of education. Increasing public awareness about the use of medicines during pregnancy is an essentially needed intervention where mass media can play a significant role.

Keywords: Prescription drugs, OTC, Pregnant women, Use.

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