Characterization of patients’ requests and pharmacists’ professional practice in oropharyngeal condition in Spain
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Background A sore throat is the reason behind 4 million visits to health care services per year in Spain. The management of these ailments is usually associated with an inappropriate use of medicines. Community pharmacists are often the first point of contact for patients under the healthcare system and play a major role in the management of minor ailments. Objective To characterize the pharmacists’ professional practice in oropharyngeal condition in terms of patients’ requests and pharmacists’ interventions performed. Setting Community pharmacies throughout Spanish territory. Method Cross-sectional multicenter observational study, undertaken between November 2012 and March 2013. Patients were recruited consecutively in the participant pharmacies. Eligible patients were those making a consultation related to an oropharyngeal condition or requesting treatment for an oropharyngeal condition. A univariate descriptive analysis showing the frequency of occurrence of the different variables was performed. This was completed with a multivariate statistical analysis through a multiple correspondence method, in order to analyze the potential association between the pharmacist profile and the intervention provided. Main outcome measure Professional Pharmacy Service requested (dispensing/counselling/medication review with follow-up), reason for consultation, source of the recommendation, Pharmacist’s intervention and reason for referral. Results 710 pharmacies and 3,547 patients participated in the study. The most frequently requested service was dispensing (44.7 %), followed by counselling (31.8 %). Regarding dispensing, the majority of patients requested a throat preparation, mostly antiseptics. Symptoms associated with the pharmacy consultation were mainly throat symptoms (70.8 %), voice symptoms (24.9 %), and mouth/tongue/lip symptoms (10.1 %). The most common pharmacist intervention was “selection of pharmacological treatment”, followed by “dispensing the requested medicine”; 6.51 % of the patients were referred to a general practitioner, mainly due to fever and other symptoms associated with infection. No relationship between the pharmacist profile and the intervention performed was found. Conclusion The most frequently requested professional service was the dispensing service, mainly for treating throat symptoms. Community pharmacists play a major role in managing patients with an oropharyngeal condition. They can keep them out of general practice or act as referral agents when a more severe disease is identified.
KeywordsCommunity pharmacy Counselling Dispensing GP referral Oropharyngeal condition Spain
The authors would like to thank all the pharmacists who participated in this study and the technical coordination of SANED Group.
The study was funded by Abbott, who did not interfere with the study design, data collection, statistical analysis or interpretation of the data.
Conflicts of interest
All of the authors have declared that they have no conflict of interests.
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