Background Possessing correct therapeutic information on oral contraceptives is an important prerequisite for the provision of sound advice to women who are using these products. Objectives This study examines Egyptian pharmacists’ knowledge of pharmacotherapeutic aspects of oral contraceptives as well as interest in developing skills in providing counseling on oral contraceptive pills. Setting Community pharmacies throughout Alexandria, Egypt. Methods A cross-sectional survey was self-administered by a random sample of community pharmacists in Alexandria, Egypt. Five multiple choice questions likely to arise when counseling women on oral contraceptives were constructed. Questions covered compatibility with breastfeeding, precautions, health risks and managing missed pills of oral contraceptives. Using ordered logistic regression, a model was estimated to predict pharmacists’ interest in developing skills in providing counseling on oral contraceptives. Main outcome measure Pharmacists’ aggregate scores for knowledge questions and pharmacists’ interest in developing skills in providing counseling on oral contraceptive pills. Results Of the 181 approached pharmacists, 92 % participated. Twenty one pharmacists (13 %) did not know the correct answer to any question, 122 (73 %) answered one-two correctly, 23 (14 %) answered three-four correctly. No pharmacist answered all five questions correctly. For pharmacists’ interest in developing skills in providing counseling on oral contraceptives, the percentage values for answers were: not interested at all (10.2 %), slightly interested (27.0 %), somewhat interested (23.4 %), interested (30.0 %) and extremely interested (9.6 %). Pharmacists’ interest in developing skills in providing counseling on oral contraceptives was significantly associated with the number of women who requested advice from the pharmacists on oral contraceptives (OR 1.54, CI 1.24–1.91). In terms of the learning method of preference, percentage values for answers were: attending a workshop (4 %), online course (18 %), publications distributed to pharmacy (44 %), other methods (1 %) and more than one method (23 %). Ten percent were not interested in developing their skills on oral contraceptives. Conclusion This study identifies considerable gaps among community pharmacists’ knowledge of oral contraceptives. It also shows variation in willingness and choice of learning strategies among pharmacists to develop their skills in providing counseling on oral contraceptives.
Continuing education Contraception Egypt Family planning Oral contraceptives Pharmacist Pharmacy
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The author would like to thank Professor Betty Chewning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her comments and suggestions, which have been instrumental in shaping this project.
This research received no financial support.
Conflicts of interest
The author declares no conflict of interest.
Ministry of Health and Population [Egypt], El-Zanaty and Associates [Egypt], and ICF International. 2015. Egypt Demographic and Health Survey 2014. Cairo, Egypt and Rockville, Maryland, USA: Ministry of Health and Population and ICF International. http://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/fr302/fr302.pdf. Accessed 10 Jun 2015.
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