A Study on the Quality of Outpatient Prescription of Psychopharmaceuticals in the City of Zagreb 2006–2009

Krešimir Živković, Ana Zelić-Kerep, Danijela Štimac, Sanja Ožić, Nikica Živković


The lack of Croatian studies which could determine the justifiability of excessive psychopharmaceutical utilization was an encouragement to conduct this research. Furthermore, regarding the conduction of this study, it would be possible to determine whether the trend of drug utilization has increased, decreased or perhaps stabilized. The data on the outpatient utilization of psycholeptics and psychoanaleptics were collected from all Zagreb pharmacies, 2006-2009.  Based on the collected data for all N05 and N06 groups of drugs, the defined daily doses (DDD) and DDD per thousand inhabitants per day (DDD/TID) have been calculated using the Anatomical-Therapeutic-Chemical classification (ATC) for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. To indicate the quality of drug prescription the Drug Utilization 90% (DU 90%) method was used.  Moreover, in order to determine a more precise quality of individual drug group prescriptions, the indicators have been calculated by determining the proportion of the total utilization of individual therapeutic and pharmacological therapeutic subgroups in DDD/TID a day. The utilization of anxiolytics (N05B) accounts for most of the psycholeptic utilization in the City of Zagreb throughout the entire study period. In the study period, the utilization of antidepressants has slightly increased, by 10.5%, taking the first and the last years of the period into account. In 2006, 5 benzodiazepines and the hypnotic zolpidem, as well as 5 selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and 1 third generation antipsychotic (olanzapin) were found in the DU 90% segment. In 2009, the DU 90% segment also comprised 5 benzodiazepines and the hypnotic zolpidem, as well as 6 SSRIs and 1 third generation antipsychotic (olanzapin). In the City of Zagreb, a general insight into the quality of psychopharmaceutical prescriptions indicates stability in comparison to earlier studies. The ratio index of the first generation antipsychotic utilization ,compared to the third generation antipsychotics,  shows an increase in the quality of prescription. Also, the ratio index of total tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) and SSRI utilization indicates improvement in quality of prescription. The ratio index of the entire outpatient utilization of anxiolytics and antidepressants expressed in DDD/TID unfortunately shows a very mild increase of prescription quality. Benzodiazepines accounted for more than 50% of the  outpatient utilization of psychopharmaceuticals throughout the study period, which proves the need for precise guidelines as the most significant means of drug rationalization and utilization. It is necessary to identify priorities and problems in order to solve them successfully, by monitoring drug utilization and prescription on a national level. Results demonstrate that within the primary health care system, there is a need for constant education on rational prescription of this drug group. 



psychotropic drugs, pharmaceutical epidemiology, drug utilization, public health, Croatia, Zagreb, ATC/DDD methodology.

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