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Determination Of Patient Dosage Proficiency Regarding Paracetamol-Containing Products And Relation To Socio-Demographic Factors In The Tshwane District, South Africa.

Willem Herman van Eeden, Vanessa Steenkamp, Andre Marais*

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Paracetamol is an active pharmaceutical ingredient used for the treatment of pain and fever. Consuming more than the recommended dose of paracetamol leads to hepatic- and renal toxicity. In South Africa paracetamol is easily available due to its assigned medicine scheduling status.The aim was to determine the dosage calculation proficiency of patients using paracetamol-containing products attending family medicine clinics in the Tshwane district, South Africa and to relate this to socio-demographic factors. This was a cross-sectional, descriptive observational study conducted in the Tshwane district at Pretoria West Hospital, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Tshwane District Hospital and Kalafong Academic Hospital in Gauteng, South Africa. Semi-closed ended questionnaires were distributed to patients attending Family Medicine Outpatient departments (1 January 2016 to 31 May 2016).Only patientsconversantin the English language were included in the study.Descriptive statistics from the questionnaires were presented as frequency counts, percentages and cross tables.All exploratory testing was done at the 0.05 level of significance.Significant differences were observed between sex (p=0.029) and household income brackets (p=0.031). The participants alluded to using 50 unique paracetamol-containing products and 55% indicated the use of more than one such product in the recent past. Regarding proficiency in calculating the correct dose of paracetamol, 97% of the participants are at risk for possible overdose.It is proposed that the scheduling status of paracetamol-containing products be revisited.

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