The impact of face-to-face educational outreach on diarrhoea treatment in pharmacies. (1/836)

Private pharmacies are an important source of health care in developing countries. A number of studies have documented deficiencies in treatment, but little has been done to improve practices. We conducted two controlled trials to determine the efficacy of face-to-face educational outreach in improving communication and product sales for cases of diarrhoea in children in 194 private pharmacies in two developing countries. A training guide was developed to enable a national diarrhoea control programme to identify problems and their causes in pharmacies, using quantitative and qualitative research methods. The guide also facilitates the design, implementation, and evaluation of an educational intervention, which includes brief one-on-one meetings between diarrhoea programme educators and pharmacists/owners, followed by one small group training session with all counter attendants working in the pharmacies. We evaluated the short-term impact of this intervention using a before-and-after comparison group design in Kenya, and a randomized controlled design in Indonesia, with the pharmacy as unit of analysis in both countries (n = 107 pharmacies in Kenya; n = 87 in Indonesia). Using trained surrogate patients posing as mothers of a child under five with diarrhoea, we measured sales of oral rehydration salts (ORS); sales of antidiarrhoeal agents; and history-taking and advice to continue fluids and food. We also measured knowledge about dehydration and drugs to treat diarrhoea among Kenyan pharmacy employees after training. Major discrepancies were found at baseline between reported and observed behaviour. For example, 66% of pharmacy attendants in Kenya, and 53% in Indonesia, reported selling ORS for the previous case of child diarrhoea, but in only 33% and 5% of surrogate patient visits was ORS actually sold for such cases. After training, there was a significant increase in knowledge about diarrhoea and its treatment among counter attendants in Kenya, where these changes were measured. Sales of ORS in intervention pharmacies increased by an average of 30% in Kenya (almost a two-fold increase) and 21% in Indonesia compared to controls (p < 0.05); antidiarrhoeal sales declined by an average of 15% in Kenya and 20% in Indonesia compared to controls (p < 0.05). There was a trend toward increased communication in both countries, and in Kenya we observed significant increases in discussion of dehydration during pharmacy visits (p < 0.05). We conclude that face-to-face training of pharmacy attendants which targets deficits in knowledge and specific problem behaviours can result in significant short-term improvements in product sales and communication with customers. The positive effects and cost-effectiveness of such programmes need to be tested over a longer period for other health problems and in other countries.  (+info)

Identifying and managing patients with hyperlipidemia. (2/836)

Cardiovascular disease related to hyperlipidemia is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. The benefit of lowering lipid levels in patients with and without cardiovascular disease has been demonstrated in numerous clinical trials. The results of these trials prompted the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute to form the Nation Cholesterol Education Panel (NCEP). This panel developed guidelines for identifying and treating lipid disorders. Before starting antilipemic therapy, patients should be evaluated for secondary causes of hyperlipidemia, including disease states and medications. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease should be identified and used to determine the patient's goal low-density lipoprotein level. Regardless of the drug therapy used, the cornerstone treatment for hyperlipidemia is dietary changes. The NCEP recommendation for dietary modification follows a two-step plan to reduce intake of cholesterol and dietary fats. Other nonpharmacologic treatments for hyperlipidemia include exercise, weight reduction for obese patients, reduction of excessive alcohol use, and smoking cessation . Drug therapy should be considered in patients who do not respond to an adequate trial of dietary modifications and lifestyle changes. The principal lipid-lowering agents currently used are the bile acid sequestrants, nicotinic acid, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase inhibitors, and fibric acid derivatives. Estrogen, fish oil, and alcohol also can decrease the risk of developing heart disease. In pharmacoeconomic studies, lipid-lowering drug therapy has been shown to decrease the number of procedures, hospitalizations, and other medical interventions required by patients with cardiovascular disease.  (+info)

Nuclear pharmacy, Part II: Nuclear pharmacy practice today. (3/836)

OBJECTIVE: Nuclear pharmacy is a specialty within the profession of pharmacy that focuses on the proper use of radiopharmaceuticals. This article reviews various features of contemporary nuclear pharmacy practice. After reading this article the nuclear medicine technologist should be able to: (a) describe nuclear pharmacy training and certification; (b) discuss nuclear pharmacy practice settings; (c) discuss nuclear pharmacy practice activities; (d) list professional organizations; and (e) describe activities associated with job satisfaction. In addition, the reader should be able to discuss regulatory issues of current concern.  (+info)

Attitudes and knowledge of hospital pharmacists to adverse drug reaction reporting. (4/836)

AIMS: To investigate the attitudes of UK hospital pharmacists towards, and their understanding, of adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting. METHODS: A postal questionnaire survey of 600 randomly selected hospital pharmacists was conducted. RESULTS: The response rate was 53.7% (n = 322). A total of 217 Yellow Cards had been submitted to the CSM/MCA by 78 (25.6%) of those responding. Half of those responding felt that ADR reporting should be compulsory and over three-quarters felt it was a professional obligation. However, almost half were unclear as to what should be reported, while the time available in clinical practice and time taken to complete forms were deemed to be major deterrents to reporting. Pharmacists were not dissuaded from reporting by the need to consult a medical colleague or by the absence of a fee. Education and training had a significant influence on pharmacists' participation in the Yellow Card Scheme. CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacists have a reasonable knowledge and are supportive of the Yellow Card spontaneous ADR reporting scheme. However, education and training will be important in maintaining and increasing ADR reports from pharmacists.  (+info)

Collaboration between pharmacy and osteopathic medicine to teach via the Internet. (5/836)

This article describes the results of a survey from graduate pharmacy students who completed a neurology/psychiatry course taught by a pharmacist and an osteopathic physician via the Internet. Seventeen practicing pharmacists completed the 11-week course, and thirteen students completed the survey provided at the end of the course. Results indicated that students were pleased with the course. Mean evaluation scores ranged from 4.31 to 4.77 on a five-point scale. Additionally, students indicated that the collaboration of medicine and pharmacy provided an educational model that should be duplicated for future courses.  (+info)

Assessment of student pharmacists' knowledge concerning folic acid and prevention of birth defects demonstrates a need for further education. (6/836)

Adequate periconceptional consumption of folic acid can prevent neural tube birth defects, and all women capable of becoming pregnant are recommended to consume 400 microg/d. Most women, however, are unaware of this recommendation and do not consume adequate amounts of folic acid. It is important, therefore, that healthcare professionals, such as pharmacists, be capable of educating women regarding folic acid. The aim of this study was to assess knowledge regarding prevention of birth defects by folic acid among student (future) pharmacists in the final year of a professional degree program. Over a 3-y period (1998-2000), students (n = 98) enrolled in a PharmD program completed a survey consisting of five multiple-choice questions concerning folic acid and birth defects. Almost all students (93.9%) correctly identified folic acid as preventing birth defects. Of these students, many also knew that supplementation should begin before pregnancy (73.9%). Fewer, however, were able to correctly identify either the recommended level of intake (55.4%) or good sources of folic acid (57.6-65.2%). These results show that although student (future) pharmacists are aware of folic acid's ability to prevent birth defects, many lack the specific knowledge needed to effectively counsel women in future clinical practice.  (+info)

Challenges to the pharmacist profession from escalating pharmaceutical demand. (7/836)

Unexpected growth in medication use has escalated demand for pharmacists that has outpaced supply. Responses to the pharmacist shortage include larger workloads and greater use of pharmacist extenders and technology. As the profession has moved from a product orientation (dispensing medications) to a patient focus, clinical training requirements have expanded. However, structural and process barriers, particularly in community and retail pharmacies, must be addressed to improve the medication-use process. These issues merit greater attention from health care leaders and policymakers.  (+info)

Reducing prescribing error: competence, control, and culture. (8/836)

Medication errors are probably the most prevalent form of medical error, and prescribing errors are the most important source of medication errors. In this article we suggest interventions are needed at three levels to improve prescribing: (1) improve the training, and test the competence, of prescribers; (2) control the environment in which prescribers perform in order to standardise it, have greater controls on riskier drugs, and use technology to provide decision support; and (3) change organisational cultures, which do not support the belief that prescribing is a complex, technical, act, and that it is important to get it right. Solutions involve overt acknowledgement of this by senior clinicians and managers, and an open process of sharing and reviewing prescribing decisions.  (+info)