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Prescribing knowledge in the light of undergraduate clinical pharmacology and therapeutics teaching in India: views of first-year postgraduate students

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Prerna Upadhyaya,1 Vikas Seth,2 Monika Sharma,1 Mushtaq Ahmed,1 Vijay Vasant Moghe,1 Zafar Yab Khan,1 Vinay Kumar Gupta,1 Shipra Vikram Jain,1 Utkarsh Soni,1 Manohar Bhatia,1 Kumar Abhijit,1 Jaswant Goyal11Department of Pharmacology, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Jaipur, 2Department of Pharmacology, Hind Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, IndiaObjectives: The study aimed to review the prescribing knowledge of first-year postgraduate doctors in a medical college in India, using the principles of good prescribing, to suggest strategies to improve rational prescribing, and to recommend what curriculum planners can do to accomplish this objective.Methods: Fifty first-year postgraduate doctors were asked to fill in a structured questionnaire that sought information regarding their undergraduate training in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, prescribing habits, and commonly consulted drug information sources. Also, the questionnaire assessed any perceived deficiencies in their undergraduate clinical pharmacology teaching and sought feedback regarding improvement in the teaching.Results: Eighty-eight percent of residents said that they were taught prescription writing in undergraduate pharmacology teaching; 48% of residents rated their prescribing knowledge at graduation as average, 28% good, 4% excellent, 14% poor, and 4% very poor; 58% felt that their undergraduate training did not prepare them to prescribe safely, and 62% felt that their training did not prepare them to prescribe rationally. Fifty-eight percent of residents felt that they had some specific problems with writing a prescription during their internship training, while 92% thought that undergraduate teaching should be improved. Their suggestions for improving teaching methods were recorded.Conclusions: This study concludes that efforts are needed to develop a curriculum that encompasses important aspects of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics along with incorporation of the useful suggestions given by the residents.Keywords: clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, medical education, prescription writing, undergraduate medical curriculum, pharmacovigilance, pharmacoeconomics

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