Pharmacy World and Science

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 59–61 | Cite as

Counselling patients on psychotropic medication: physicians' opinions on the role of community pharmacists

  • Paavo Tanskanen
  • Marja Airaksinen
  • Antti Tanskanen
  • Hannes Enlund


Objective: To study physicians' opinions on community pharmacists' involvement in counselling patients on use of psychotropic medication. Design: A postal questionnaire with open‐ended questions completed by physicians. Subjects: A six per cent random sample (n=759) of the members of the Finnish Medical Association representing physicians working in hospitals, community health centres, private practices and occupational health services (response rate 64%, n=487). Main measures: Physicians' opinions concerning community pharmacists' involvement in counselling patients about purpose of the medication and adverse effects of benzodiazepines and neuroleptics. Results: When classifying opinions into five categories, majority (72%) of the physicians regarded community pharmacists as a provider of comprehensive or at least general information about adverse effects of benzodiazepines, but only 43% about the purpose of the medication. Correspondingly, 60% of the physicians regarded community pharmacists as a provider of comprehensive or general information about adverse effects of neuroleptics, but only 35 % about the purpose of the medication. There was a strong correlation between physicians' opinions concerning pharmacists' involvement in counselling patients about the purpose of the medication of benzodiazepines and neuroleptics (Spearman's coefficient 0.667), and about adverse effects of both type of medication (0.668). Male physicians had more fixed opinions, both positive and negative, than female physicians. Conclusion: Finnish physicians are still quite critical about community pharmacists involvement in counselling patients on psychotropic medication. Especially with neuroleptics, physicians feel that pharmacists should be cautious when discussing the purpose of the medication if it is excluded from the prescription.

Adverse effects Benzodiazepines Neuroleptics Patient counselling Pharmacists Physicians' opinion Psychotropic medication Purpose of medication 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Kessler DA, Communicating with patients about their medications. N Engl J Med 1991;325:1650-2Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Airaksinen M, Vainio K, Koistinen J, Ahonen R, Wallenius S, Enlund H. Do the public and pharmacists share opinions about drug information. Int Pharm J 1994;8:168-70.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Spronk VRA, Warmenhoven NE. Patient education in general practice: Opinions of general practitioners. Patient Educ Couns 1983;5:68-75Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    De Tullio PL, Eraker SA, Jepson C, Becker MH, Fujimoto E, Diaz CL, et al. Patient medication instruction and provider interactions: Effect on knowledge and attitudes. Health Educ Q 1986;13(1):51-60.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Griffin JP, Griffin JR. Informing the patient. J R Coll Physicians Lond 1996;30:107-11.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Airaksinen M, Ahonen R, Enlund H. Drug information from pharmacies: desire for more spontaneous information. Med Care 1993;31:846-50.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cosler LE, Schulz RM, Baldwin HJ, Cohen SH. Consumer preference for personal drug information source: relationship to perceived importance of drug class. Drug Intell Clin Pharmacol 1986;20:138-42.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Morris LA, Tabak ER, Gondek K. Counseling patients about prescribed medication 12-year trends. Med Care 1997;35:996-1007.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Vainio K, Airaksinen M, Pesonen T, Enlund H. Pharmacy As a Source of Drug Information – Increase in Importance During Ten Years. J Soc Adm Pharm 1999;16:110-111.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Medicaid program; Drug Use Review program and electronic claim management system for outpatient drug claims Fed. Reg. 1992; 57:49397-49412Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    WHO. The role of the pharmacist in the health care system. WHO/PHARM/94.569, World Health Organization 1994Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Moss RL, Garnett WR, Steiner KC. Physician attitudes toward pharmacists counseling patients on adverse drug reactions. Am J Hosp Pharm 1980;37:243-7.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tanskanen P, Jäkälä J, Airaksinen M, Enlund H. Physicians’ views on co-operation with community pharmacists in Finland. J Soc Adm Pharm 1997;14:220-9.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hannula A-M, Klaukka T, Eerikäinen S. Purpose of medication in Finland. Pharm J 248:466,1992Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gibbs S, Waters WE, George CF. The benefits of prescription information leaflets (2). Br J Clin Pharmacol 1989;28:345-51.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ley P. Satisfaction, compliance and communication. Br J Clin Psychol 1982;21:241-54.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Morris LA, Kanouse DA. Informing patients about drug side effects. J Behav Med 1982;5:363-73.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Myers ED, Calvert EJ. Information, compliance and side effects: A study of patients on antidepressant medication. Br J Clin Pharmacol 1984;17:21-5.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Baker MJC. Medicine package inserts-How much to tell the patient. Pharmaceut Med 1991;5:175-92.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Vander-Stichele RH, De Potter B, Vyncke P, Bogaert MG. Attitude of physicians toward patient package inserts for medication information in Belgium. Patient Educ Couns 1996;28:5-13.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Faden RR, Becker C, Lewis C, Freeman J, Faden AI. Disclosure of information to patients in medical care. Med Care 1981;XIX:718-33.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Akaho E, Ahmad SR. A comparative study of Internet search engines by applying “cost effective treatment for myocardial infarction” as a search topic. Drug Inform J 1998;32:921-32Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hemminki E, Herxheimer A. Should drug information be an integral part of health care? J R Coll Physicians Lond 1996;30:104-6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paavo Tanskanen
    • 1
  • Marja Airaksinen
    • 2
  • Antti Tanskanen
    • 3
  • Hannes Enlund
    • 2
  1. 1.Oy Galena LtdKuopioFinland
  2. 2.Department of Social PharmacyUniversity of KuopioFinland
  3. 3.University of KuopioDepartment of PsychiatryFinland

Personalised recommendations