Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of bmjLink to Publisher's site
BMJ. 1991 February 23; 302(6774): 440–443.
PMCID: PMC1669340

Management of childhood diarrhoea by pharmacists and parents: is Britain lagging behind the Third World?


OBJECTIVE--To investigate the role of community pharmacists in providing advice and treatment for children with diarrhoea; to investigate mothers' responses to diarrhoea in their children. DESIGN--Cross sectional questionnaire study of a random selection of community pharmacists and of mothers attending child health clinics. Pharmacists were interviewed and given a questionnaire and a separate group was visited by a researcher posing as a parent; mothers were interviewed at the clinic. SETTING--Newcastle upon Tyne. SUBJECTS--20 pharmacists were interviewed and visits by a researcher posing as a parent were carried out to 10 different pharmacists; 58 mothers were interviewed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Advice given by pharmacists was contrasted with standard advice on management of diarrhoea in children. RESULTS--Half of the pharmacists interviewed and 70% of pharmacists visited by a researcher posing as a parent recommended inappropriate treatment of childhood diarrhoea (such as antidiarrhoeal drugs and withholding breast milk), and only 30% at interview stated that they would ask for the age of the child. Mothers' knowledge of home treatment was inadequate. All pharmacists in the posed visits recommended a purchased treatment. CONCLUSION--Pharmacists are widely used by parents for consultation for children's ailments but their advice is not always appropriate; hence they should be given more consistent training in recognising and managing clinical problems. Medical advice on management of diarrhoea is also inconsistent and should be modified to conform to the guidelines of the World Health Organisation.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (907K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Cunningham-Burley S, Maclean U. The role of the chemist in primary health care for children with minor complaints. Soc Sci Med. 1987;24(4):371–377. [PubMed]
  • Gallagher KF, Zander LI. General practitioner and the pharmacist. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983 Aug 6;287(6389):397–398. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rylance GW, Woods CG, Cullen RE, Rylance ME. Use of drugs by children. BMJ. 1988 Aug 13;297(6646):445–447. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wharton BA, Pugh RE, Taitz LS, Walker-Smith JA, Booth IW. Dietary management of gastroenteritis in Britain. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988 Feb 13;296(6620):450–452. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Walker-Smith JA. Management of infantile gastroenteritis. Arch Dis Child. 1990 Sep;65(9):917–918. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Khin MU, Nyunt-Nyunt-Wai, Myo-Khin, Mu-Mu-Khin, Tin U, Thane-Toe Effect on clinical outcome of breast feeding during acute diarrhoea. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985 Feb 23;290(6468):587–589. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Conway SP, Ireson A. Acute gastroenteritis in well nourished infants: comparison of four feeding regimens. Arch Dis Child. 1989 Jan;64(1):87–91. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from BMJ : British Medical Journal are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group