Community pharmacists’ attitudes and opinions towards supplying clozapine
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Background Clozapine is very effective for treatment-resistant schizophrenia, but its use has been limited due to the risk of agranulocytosis. From July 2015, clozapine has been accessible from Australian community pharmacies following regulatory changes, but pharmacists’ attitudes towards these changes remain unknown. Objective To explore pharmacists’ perspectives and experiences in supplying clozapine. Setting Australian community pharmacists. Methods A cross-sectional study with a mixed methods approach involving two phases. An online survey containing Likert-type and open-response questions was distributed to community pharmacists (n = 134) via ClopineCentral™ (clozapine monitoring system). Participants were then invited to participate in semi-structured telephone interviews (n = 12) regarding clozapine supply. Quantitative data were statistically analysed, while qualitative responses were thematically content-analysed. Main outcome measures Pharmacists’ responses to surveys and interviews. Results Community pharmacists were supportive towards supplying clozapine as it increased access for consumers. Better patient-pharmacist relationships and holistic care approach were identified to benefit both consumers and pharmacists. Pharmacists reported to be confident (89.6%), have adequate support (73.1%), knowledge (86.6%) and skills (93.3%) in dispensing clozapine. Training and support received facilitated pharmacists’ roles, whereas administrative issues, especially in obtaining valid haematology results, posed challenges. Educational and technical improvements were suggested to improve service provision. Conclusion Community pharmacists welcomed the regulatory changes positively and were confident in supporting consumers taking clozapine. Despite challenges present, benefits and facilitators identified supported the feasibility of this service in community pharmacies. Future research should explore other aspects of clozapine supply, such as attitudes of other stakeholders, to improve current supply systems.
KeywordsAustralia Clozapine Community pharmacy Pharmacy services Schizophrenia
The authors wish to thank ClopineCentral™ and Hospira for assisting in survey distribution, and all community pharmacists who participated in this study.
Conflicts of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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