Patients’ knowledge and practices on the drug regimens prescribed at the National Traditional Medicine Hospital: a call for a systematic approach to drug information services

  • Kinga Jamphel Drug Regulatory Authority, Royal Government of Bhutan, Thimphu, Bhutan
  • Dorji Gyeltshen Department of Traditional Medicine Services, Ministry of Health, Thimphu, Bhutan
  • Sherab Tenzin Menjong Sorig Pharmaceuticals Corporation Limited, Ministry of Health, Thimphu, Bhutan
  • Thinley Dorji Kidu Medical Unit, His Majesty’s Peoples’ Project, Thimphu, Bhutan
Keywords: Traditional medicine; Drug information service; Medication adherence; Patient safety.×


Introduction: The World Health Organisation estimates that only half of all medicines dispensed are used appropriately. The Bhutanese Traditional Medicine (BTM) system is no exception. Objectives: We studied the patients’ knowledge on the usage of traditional medicine regimens prescribed to them, their medication adherence and possible adverse events.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted using an interviewer-administered questionnaire at the National Traditional Medicine Hospital, Thimphu in 2017. A simple random sampling was used. Ethical approval was sought from Research Ethics Board of Health, Thimphu.

Results: A sample of 402 patients were studied. The mean age of the respondents was 45 years (±15 years) and 333 (82.8%) were old cases presenting to the hospital. The knowledge on the correct timing of the medicine, how to take the medicine and what to avoid while on those medicines were understood only by 62.7%, 34.6% and 22.9% respectively. Only 351 (87.3%) patients received verbal information on the usage of drugs from the dispensers, of which 119 (29.6%) said the information was not clear or not adequate. Failure to take medicines on time was reported by 224 (67.3%) among old cases. Undesirable events reported while using BTM were giddiness, vomiting, skin irritation, diarrhoea and fainting episodes.

Conclusions: The drug information system and monitoring of medication adherence and adverse drug events require adoption of more effective tools
and methods.


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Original Article