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1.  Herbal medicine use in pregnancy: results of a multinational study 
Background
The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) is growing in the general population. Herbal medicines are used in all countries of the world and are included in the top CAM therapies used.
Methods
A multinational study on how women treat disease and pregnancy-related health ailments was conducted between October 2011 and February 2012 in Europe, North and South America and Australia. In this study, the primary aim was to determine the prevalence of herbal medicine use in pregnancy and factors related to such use across participating countries and regions. The secondary aim was to investigate who recommended the use of herbal medication in pregnancy.
Results
There were 9,459 women from 23 countries participating in the study. Of these, 28.9% reported the use of herbal medicines in pregnancy. Most herbal medicines were used for pregnancy-related health ailments such as cold and nausea. Ginger, cranberry, valerian and raspberry were the most commonly used herbs in pregnancy. The highest reported rate of herbal use medicines was in Russia (69%). Women from Eastern Europe (51.8%) and Australia (43.8%) were twice as likely to use an herbal medicine versus other regions. Women using herbal medicines were characteristically having their first child, non-smokers, using folic acid and consuming some alcohol in pregnancy. Also, women who were currently students and women with an education other than a high school degree were more likely to use herbal medicines than other women. Although 1 out of 5 women stated that a physician had recommended the herbal use, most women used herbal medicine in pregnancy on their own initiative.
Conclusions
In this multinational study herbal medicine use in pregnancy was high although there were distinct differences in the herbs and users of herbal medicines across regions. Most commonly the women self-medicated with herbal medicine to treat pregnancy-related health ailments. More knowledge regarding the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines in pregnancy is warranted.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-355
PMCID: PMC4029224  PMID: 24330413
Herbal medicine; CAM; Complementary and alternative medicine; Pregnancy; Information sources
2.  Attitudes and perceptions of Australian pharmacy students towards Complementary and Alternative Medicine – a pilot study 
Background
With the increased usage of CAM worldwide comes the demand for its integration into health professional education. However, the incorporation of CAM into health professional curricula is handled quite differently by different institutions and countries. Furthermore, the evaluation of CAM curricula is complicated because students' ability to learn about CAM may be influenced by factors such as student's prior knowledge and motivation, together with the perceptions and attitudes of clinical preceptors.
The study aimed to describe the attitudes, perceptions and beliefs of second, third and fourth year pharmacy students towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and to explore factors that might affect attitudes such as learning, preceptors and placements.
Methods
Pharmacy students from a University in South East Queensland, Australia participated in the study. The study consisted of a cross-sectional survey (n = 110) and semi-structured interviews (n = 9).
Results
The overall response rate for the survey was 75%, namely 50% (36/72) for second year, 77.3% (34/44) for third year and 97.6% (40/41) for fourth year students. Overall, 95.5% of pharmacy students believe that pharmacists should be able to advise patients about CAM and most (93.7%) have used CAM prior to course enrolment. Students' attitudes to CAM are influenced by the use of CAM by family, friends and self, CAM training, lecturers and to a lesser degree by preceptors. The majority of pharmacy students (89.2%) perceive education about CAM as a core and integral part of their professional degree and favour it over an additional postgraduate degree. However, they see a greater need for education in complementary medicines (such as herbal medicines, vitamins and minerals) than for education in complementary therapies (such as acupuncture, meditation and bio-magnetism). Knowledge and educational input rationalised rather than marginalised students' attitudes towards CAM.
Conclusion
Pharmacy students perceive education about CAM as a core and integral part of their professional degree. Students' attitudes towards CAM can be influenced by learning, lecturers, preceptors and practice experience. The content and focus of CAM education has to be further investigated and tailored to meet the professional needs of our future health professionals.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-2
PMCID: PMC2267156  PMID: 18221569
3.  Prevalence of hazardous alcohol use among pharmacy students at nine U.S. schools of pharmacy 
Pharmacy Practice  2011;9(3):162-168.
Hazardous use of alcohol continues to be recognized as a problem at the university level. Knowledge regarding alcohol consumption in healthcare professional students is limited, especially in regards to pharmacy students. Much of the information available focuses on pharmacy student drinking patterns in specific geographic regions or is simply outdated.
Objective
This study was designed to assess levels of alcohol consumption and estimate the level of hazardous drinking among pharmacy students in a larger sample size that is representative of US pharmacy schools.
Methods
An anonymous survey regarding alcohol usage was offered to students at nine schools of pharmacy across the United States. The survey consisted of demographic questions, the World Health Organization Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and questions that assess particular alcohol-induced behaviors.
Results
More than 25% of 1161 respondents had a total AUDIT score ≥ 8, which indicates a risk of alcohol-related problems. Students that were male, in their first or second professional year of school, not married, and without children were statistically more likely to have AUDIT scores in the hazardous drinking range. Grade point average and student housing did not statistically affect student’s AUDIT scores.
Conclusions
These results indicate that over one-fourth of pharmacy students surveyed have indicators of harmful alcohol use. Pharmacy schools should continue to address and confront hazardous alcohol use on campuses in order to curtail heavy alcohol consumption and reduce the risk of alcohol-related problems in pharmacy students.
PMCID: PMC3870176  PMID: 24367471
Alcohol Drinking; Students, Pharmacy; United States
4.  Attitude and use of herbal medicines among pregnant women in Nigeria 
Background
The use of herbal medicines among pregnant women in Nigeria has not been widely studied.
Methods
Opinion of 595 pregnant women in three geopolitical zones in Nigeria on the use of herbal medicines, safety on usage, knowledge of potential effects of herbal remedies on the fetus and potential benefits or harms that may be derived from combining herbal remedies with conventional therapies were obtained using a structured questionnaire between September 2007 and March 2008. Descriptive statistics and Fisher's exact tests were used at 95% confidence level to evaluate the data obtained. Level of significance was set at p < 0.05.
Results
More than two-third of respondents [67.5%] had used herbal medicines in crude forms or as pharmaceutical prepackaged dosage forms, with 74.3% preferring self-prepared formulations. Almost 30% who were using herbal medicine at the time of the study believed that the use of herbal medicines during pregnancy is safe. Respondents' reasons for taking herbal medications were varied and included reasons such as herbs having better efficacy than conventional medicines [22.4%], herbs being natural, are safer to use during pregnancy than conventional medicines [21.1%], low efficacy of conventional medicines [19.7%], easier access to herbal medicines [11.2%], traditional and cultural belief in herbal medicines to cure many illnesses [12.5%], and comparatively low cost of herbal medicines [5.9%].
Over half the respondents, 56.6% did not support combining herbal medicines with conventional drugs to forestall drug-herb interaction. About 33.4% respondents believed herbal medicines possess no adverse effects while 181 [30.4%] were of the opinion that adverse/side effects of some herbal medicines could be dangerous. Marital status, geopolitical zones, and educational qualification of respondents had statistically significant effects on respondents views on side effects of herbal medicines [p < 0.05)] while only geopolitical zones and educational qualifications seemed to have influence on respondents' opinion on the harmful effects of herbal medicines to the fetus [p < 0.05].
Conclusion
The study emphasized the wide spread use of herbal medicines by pregnant women in Nigeria highlighting an urgent need for health care practitioners and other health care givers to be aware of this practice and make efforts in obtaining information about herb use during ante-natal care. This will help forestall possible interaction between herbal and conventional medicines.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-9-53
PMCID: PMC2808296  PMID: 20043858
5.  Herbal medicines supplied by community pharmacies in Lagos, Nigeria: pharmacists’ knowledge 
Pharmacy Practice  2013;11(4):219-227.
Background
The use of herbal medicines is on the increase globally and they are usually supplied in pharmacies as non-prescription medicines. Pharmacists are, therefore, responsible for educating and informing the consumers about rational use of herbal medicines.
Objective
To evaluate the knowledge of pharmacists in Lagos, Nigeria with regards to the herbal medicines they supplied by their pharmacies.
Methods
Pharmacists in charge of randomly selected 140 community pharmacies from 20 Local Government Areas in Lagos were required to fill out a self-administered questionnaire. We gathered information on their knowledge of the indications, adverse effects, potential drug-herb interactions and contraindications of the herbal medicines they supply in their pharmacies.
Results
Of the 140 questionnaires distributed, 103 (72.9%) participants completed the questionnaire appropriately. The majority (74; 71.8%) of the participants were males and 36-50 years (56; 54.4%). The pharmacies supplied mostly Yoyo cleanser bitters® (101; 98.5%), ginseng (97; 98.5%), Jobelyn® (91; 88.3%), Ciklavit® (68; 66.6%), gingko (66; 64.1%), herbal tea (66; 64.1%), and Aloe vera (57; 55.3%). The pharmacists self-rated their knowledge of herbal medicines mostly as fair (39%) and good (42%), but they exhibited poor knowledge with regards to the indications, contraindications and safety profiles. Seventy participants consulted reference materials such as leaflet insert in the herbal medicines (56%) and internet (20%) before supplying herbal medicines. The information most frequently sought was herb-drug interactions (85%), contraindications (75%) and adverse effects (70%).
Conclusions
Community pharmacists need to be informed about the indications and safety profiles of herbal medicines.
PMCID: PMC3869638  PMID: 24367462
Phytotherapy; Herbal Medicine; Herb-Drug Interactions; Pharmacies; Pharmacists; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Nigeria
6.  Effects and treatment methods of acupuncture and herbal medicine for premenstrual syndrome/premenstrual dysphoric disorder: systematic review 
Background
During their reproductive years about 10% of women experience some kind of symptoms before menstruation (PMS) in a degree that affects their quality of life (QOL). Acupuncture and herbal medicine has been a recent favorable therapeutic approach. Thus we aimed to review the effects of acupuncture and herbal medicine in the past decade as a preceding research in order to further investigate the most effective Korean Medicine treatment for PMS/PMDD.
Methods
A systematic literature search was conducted using electronic databases on studies published between 2002 and 2012. Our review included randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) of acupuncture and herbal medicine for PMS/PMDD. Interventions include acupuncture or herbal medicine. Clinical information including statistical tests was extracted from the articles and summarized in tabular form or in the text. Study outcomes were presented as the rate of improvement (%) and/or end-of-treatment scores.
Results
The search yielded 19 studies. In screening the RCTs, 8 studies in acupuncture and 11 studies in herbal medicine that matched the criteria were identified. Different acupuncture techniques including traditional acupuncture, hand acupuncture and moxibustion, and traditional acupuncture technique with auricular points, have been selected for analysis. In herbal medicine, studies on Vitex Agnus castus, Hypericum perforatum, Xiao yao san, Elsholtzia splendens, Cirsium japonicum, and Gingko biloba L. were identified. Experimental groups with Acupuncture and herbal medicine treatment (all herbal medicine except Cirsium japonicum) had significantly improved results regarding PMS/PMDD.
Conclusions
Limited evidence supports the efficacy of alternative medicinal interventions such as acupuncture and herbal medicine in controlling premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments for premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder showed a 50% or better reduction of symptoms compared to the initial state. In both acupuncture and herbal medical interventions, there have been no serious adverse events reported, proving the safety of the interventions while most of the interventions provided over 50% relief of symptoms associated with PMS/PMDD. Stricter diagnostic criteria may have excluded many participants from some studies. Also, depending on the severity of symptoms, the rate of improvement in the outcomes of the studies may have greatly differed.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-11
PMCID: PMC3898234  PMID: 24410911
Premenstrual syndrome; Premenstrual dysphoric disorder; Acupuncture; Herbal medicine; TCM; CAM; PMS; PMDD
7.  THE VAXED PROJECT: An Assessment of Immunization Education in Canadian Health Professional Programs 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:86.
Background
Knowledge & attitudes of healthcare providers (HCP) have significant impact on frequency with which vaccines are offered & accepted but many HCP are ill equipped to make informed recommendations about vaccine merits & risks. We performed an assessment of the educational needs of trainees regarding immunization and used the information thus ascertained to develop multi-faceted, evaluable, educational tools which can be integrated into formal education curricula.
Methods
(i) A questionnaire was sent to all Canadian nursing, medical & pharmacy schools to assess immunization-related curriculum content (ii) A 77-item web-based, validated questionnaire was emailed to final-year students in medicine, nursing, & pharmacy at two universities in Nova Scotia, Canada to assess knowledge, attitudes, & behaviors reflecting current immunization curriculum.
Results
The curriculum review yielded responses from 18%, 48%, & 56% of medical, nursing, & pharmacy schools, respectively. Time spent on immunization content varied substantially between & within disciplines from <1 to >50 hrs. Most schools reported some content regarding vaccine preventable diseases, immunization practice & clinical skills but there was considerable variability and fewer schools had learning objectives or formal evaluation in these areas. 74% of respondents didn't feel comfortable discussing vaccine side effects with parents/patients & only 21% felt they received adequate teaching regarding immunization during training.
Conclusions
Important gaps were identified in the knowledge of graduating nursing, medical, & pharmacy trainees regarding vaccine indications/contraindications, adverse events & safety. The national curriculum review revealed wide variability in immunization curriculum content & evaluation. There is clearly a need for educators to assess current curricula and adapt existing educational resources such as the Immunization Competencies for Health Professionals in Canada.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-86
PMCID: PMC3002370  PMID: 21110845
8.  Development and implementation of an herbal and natural product elective in undergraduate medical education 
Background
Medical students have consistently expressed interest in learning about alternative healing modalities, especially herbal and natural products. To fill this void in medical education at our institution, a novel elective was developed and implemented for fourth year medical students. This herbal/natural product course uses guest lecturers, classroom presentations, and active learning mechanisms that include experiential rotations, case-based learning, and team-based learning to increase student knowledge of herbal/natural product safety and efficacy.
Methods
Knowledge outcomes were evaluated via administration of a pre- and post-course test (paired student t-test). End-of-course evaluations (Likert-type questions and narrative responses) were used to assess student opinion of knowledge and skills imparted by the elective and overall course content (mean, standard deviation).
Results
Over three academic years, 23 students have enrolled in this elective. More than 60% of participants have been female and nearly half of the students (43%) have pursued residencies in primary care. Completion of the course significantly increased student knowledge of common herbal/natural product mechanisms, uses, adverse effects, and drug-interactions as determined by a pre- and post-course knowledge assessment (45% ± 10% versus 78% ± 6%; p < 0.0001). The course was highly rated by enrollees (overall course quality, 4.6 of 5.0 ± 0.48) who appreciated the variety of activities to which they were exposed and the open classroom discussions that resulted. While students tended to view some alternative medical systems with skepticism, they still believed it was valuable to learn what these modalities encompass.
Conclusions
Development and implementation of a herbal/natural product elective that engages undergraduate medical students through active learning mechanisms and critical analysis of the literature has proven effective in increasing knowledge outcomes and is deemed to be a valuable curricular addition by student participants. In the future, it will be of interest to explore mechanisms for expanding the course to reach a larger number of students within the time, financial, and logistical constraints that currently exist.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-57
PMCID: PMC3358235  PMID: 22540850
Complementary and alternative medicine; Dietary supplements; Herbal; Integrated therapy; Natural product; Undergraduate medical education
9.  Pharmacy Students’ Retention of Knowledge of Drug-Drug Interactions 
Objectives. To evaluate pharmacy students' drug-drug interaction (DDI) knowledge retention over 1 year and to determine whether presenting DDI vignettes increased knowledge retention.
Methods. A knowledge assessment tool was distributed to fourth-year pharmacy students before and after completing a DDI educational session. The questionnaire was re-administered after 1 year to assess knowledge retention. During the intervening year, students had the option of presenting DDI case vignettes to preceptors and other health professionals as part of their advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs).
Results. Thirty-four of 78 pharmacy students completed both the post-intervention and 1-year follow-up assessments. Students’ knowledge of 4 DDI pairs improved, knowledge of 3 DDI pairs did not change, and knowledge of the remainder of DDI pairs decreased. Average scores of the 18 students who completed all tests and presented at least 1 vignette during their APPEs were higher on the 1-year follow-up assessment than students who did not, suggesting greater DDI knowledge retention (p = 0.04).
Conclusion. Although pharmacy students’ overall DDI knowledge decreased in the year following an educational session, those who presented vignettes to health professionals retained more DDI knowledge, particularly on those DDIs for which they gave presentations. Other methods to enhance pharmacy students’ retention of DDI knowledge of clinically important DDIs are needed.
doi:10.5688/ajpe756110
PMCID: PMC3175677  PMID: 21931448
drug-drug interaction; assessment
10.  A gap between acceptance and knowledge of herbal remedies by physicians: The need for educational intervention 
Background
The unprecedented global increase in the use of herbal remedies is set to continue apace well into the foreseeable future. This raises important public health concerns, especially as it relates to safety issues including adverse effects and herb-drug interactions. Most Western-trained physicians are ignorant of the risks and benefits of this healthcare modality and assessment of acceptance and knowledge would identify appropriate intervention strategies to improve physician-patient communication in this area.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey was done using an interviewer-administered pilot tested de novo questionnaire at six public hospitals in Trinidad between May–July 2004. The questionnaire utilized weighed questions to quantify acceptance (maximum score = 14 points) and knowledge (maximum score = 52 points). Acceptance and knowledge scores were analyzed using the ANOVA and Tukey's tests.
Results
Of 192 physicians interviewed, most (60.4%) believed that herbal remedies were beneficial to health. Respondents had relatively high acceptance levels (mean = 5.69 ± 0.29 points or 40% of total possible score) and poor knowledge (mean = 7.77 ± 0.56 points or 15% of total possible score). Seventy-eight physicians (40.6%) admitted having used herbs in the past, and 60 of these (76.9%) were satisfied with the outcome. Although 52 physicians (27.1%) recommended the use of herbs to their patients only 29 (15.1%) were able to identify at least one known herb-drug interaction.
Conclusion
The use of herbal remedies is relatively high in Trinidad, as throughout the world, and most patients self-medicate with or without the knowledge of their attending physician. Surprisingly, we demonstrated relatively high acceptance levels and use of herbs among physicians in Trinidad. This interesting scenario of high acceptance levels and poor knowledge creates a situation that demands urgent intervention. We recommend educational intervention to narrow the gap between acceptance and knowledge so that physicians would be adequately equipped to communicate with their patients on this modality. The integration of herbal medicine into the curriculum of medical schools, continuing education programs and the availability of reputable pharmacopoeias for referencing at public health institutions are useful instruments that can be used to close this gap and promote improved physician-patient communication.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-5-20
PMCID: PMC1310610  PMID: 16297236
11.  Self-medication and related health complaints among expatriate high school students in the United Arab Emirates 
Pharmacy Practice  2013;11(4):211-218.
Background
Self-medication, often without adult guidance, has been reported to be a common practice during adolescence. Similar to other preventable health-risk behaviors initiated in early adolescence, it has become a cause for concern universally.
Objective
This study examines the prevalence of self-medication with both prescribed and non-prescribed (OTC) medications, related health complaints, sources of drugs, and sources of drug recommendation, and gender differences related to self-medication among expatriate high school students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Methods
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 324 expatriate students through a validated, self-administered questionnaire and data was analyzed using SPSS 19 version. Means and proportions were calculated and Pearson Chi-square test of significance was used to analyze association among variables.
Results
Majority of the participating students, almost equally distributed by gender, was aged 16 to 17 years. The period prevalence rate of self-medication with prescribed and OTC medications were 89.2%, which did not vary with age, gender, ethnicity or parents’ educational level. The most common sources of drug and drug recommendation were community pharmacies and parents respectively. Headache and fever were the common self-medicated conditions and consequently, analgesics and antipyretics were most commonly used both in the previous two weeks and the previous year prior to the survey. A high prevalence of self-medication with antibiotics (53%) and sedative/hypnotics (27%) was also observed. A female excess emerged for certain health complaints and use of medicines except for the use of anti-allergic and herbal/homeopathic drugs.
Conclusions
This is the first study to explore self-medication practices among high school students in UAE and provides baseline data critical in creating awareness about the risks and benefits of self-medication. Health care providers, educators and parents should be actively involved in health education strategies for inculcating responsible self-medication practices in the adolescent population of UAE.
PMCID: PMC3869637  PMID: 24367461
Self Medication; Adolescent; Prevalence; Patient Medication Knowledge; Patient Education as Topic; United Arab Emirates
12.  Availability and needs of herbal medicinal information resources at community pharmacy, Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia 
A cross-sectional survey of community pharmacists in Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia was conducted over a period of 6 months from July through December 2011. Data collection was carried out using a structured self-administered questionnaire. The survey questionnaire consisted of a brief introduction to the study and eleven questions. The questions consisted of close ended, multiple-choice, and fill-in short answers. A stratified random sample of one thousand and seven hundred registered pharmacy practitioners all over Saudi Arabia were randomly chosen to respond to the survey. The data from each of the returned questionnaire were coded and entered into Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19 software (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) which was used for statistical analysis. Only one thousand four hundred one pharmacists responded to the survey (response rate is 82.4%) with a completely answered questionnaire. The study results show that 59.7% of the participants sometimes discuss herbal medicine use with their patients, while only 4.25% never discuss it. The study shows 48.5% of participated pharmacists record herbal medicine use sometimes where only 9.4% of them never did so. However, with regard to initiation of the discussion, the study shows that 44.3% of the respondents reported that patients initiate herbal issue discussion while 20.8% reported that pharmacists initiate the discussion. This discussion was reported to be a one time discussion or an ongoing discussion by 14.3% or 9.9% of the respondents respectively. According to the study results, respondents reported that the most common barriers that limit discussing herbal medicines’ use with their patients were lack of time due to other obligations assigned to the community pharmacist (46%), lack of reliable resources (30.3%), lack of scientific evidence that support herbal medicine use (15.2%), or lack of knowledge of herbal medicines (13.4%). Yet, a small number of respondents was concerned about interest in herbal medicines (9.1%) and other reasons (2.4%). So it is urgent to ensure that pharmacists are appropriately educated and trained. Extra efforts are needed to increase the awareness of pharmacists to adverse drug reactions reporting system at Saudi Food and Drug Authority. Finally, more consideration to herbal issues should be addressed in both pharmacy colleges’ curricula and continuous education program..
doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2012.11.004
PMCID: PMC3824944  PMID: 24227954
Recourse; Medicinal; Herbal; Availability
13.  Pharmacists and Natural Health Products: A systematic analysis of professional responsibilities in Canada 
Pharmacy practice  2008;6(1):33-42.
PURPOSE
Natural health products (natural health products) such as herbs, vitamins and homeopathic medicines are widely available in Canadian pharmacies. The purpose of this paper was to conduct a systematic analysis of Canadian pharmacy policies and guidelines to explore pharmacists’ professional responsibilities with respect to natural health products.
METHODS
Legislation, codes of ethics, standards of practice and guidance documents that apply to the practice of pharmacy in each Canadian jurisdiction were systematically collected and examined to identify if, and how, these instruments establish professional duties in regard to natural health products.
RESULTS
The majority of Canadian jurisdictions now include some explicit reference to natural health products in standards of practice policy or guideline documents. Often natural health products are simply assumed to be included in the over-the-counter (OTC) product category and thus professional responsibilities for OTCs are relevant for natural health products. A minority of provinces have specific policies on natural health products, herbals or homeopathy. In addition, the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities’ Model Standards of Practice specifically refers to natural health products. Most policy documents indicate that pharmacists should inquire about natural health product use when counselling patients and, when asked, should provide accurate information regarding the efficacy, toxicity, side effects or interactions of natural health products. Public messaging also indicates that pharmacists are knowledgeable professionals who can provide evidence-based information about natural health products.
CONCLUSIONS
Explicit policies or guidelines regarding pharmacists’ professional responsibilities with respect to natural health products currently exist in the majority of Canadian jurisdictions.
PMCID: PMC3265537  PMID: 22282720 CAMSID: cams1356
pharmacist; legal responsibilities; natural health products; dietary supplements
14.  Smoking cessation in community pharmacy practice–a clinical information needs analysis 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:449.
Background
With the emerging role of pharmacists in implementing smoking cessation services and the recent evidence about smoking cessation pharmacotherapies, a needs analysis to assess baseline knowledge about current smoking cessation practice is needed; hence, training and development in this area can target possible ‘gaps’.
Objective
This study aimed at exploring pharmacy students’ knowledge about and attitudes toward smoking cessation, as compared to practicing community pharmacists and smoking cessation educators. The overall objective was to uncover underlying ‘gaps’ in pharmacy-based smoking cessation practice, particularly clinical gaps.
Setting
Final-year pharmacy students at the University of Sydney, practicing community pharmacists and smoking cessation educators in Australia.
Method
As no previous standard pharmacist-focused smoking cessation knowledge questionnaires exist, a review of the literature informed the development of such a questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered to a cohort of fourth-year pharmacy students at the University of Sydney, practicing pharmacists and smoking cessation educators. Data analysis was performed using Predictive Analytics SoftWare (PASW® Statistics 18). Mean total scores, independent t-tests, analysis of variances and exploratory factor analysis were performed.
Main outcome measure
To determine areas of major clinical deficits about current evidence related to smoking cessation interventions at the pharmacy level.
Results
Responses from 250 students, 51 pharmacists and 20 educators were obtained. Smoking educators scored significantly higher than pharmacists and students (P < .05), while score differences in the latter two groups were not statistically significant (P > .05). All groups scored high on ‘general’ knowledge questions as compared to specialised pharmacologic and pharmacotherapeutic questions. All respondents demonstrated positive attitudes toward the implications of smoking cessation. Factor analysis of the 24-item knowledge section extracted 12 items loading on 5 factors accounting for 53% of the total variance.
Conclusions
The results provide a valid indication of ‘gaps’ in the practice of up-to-date smoking cessation services among Australian pharmacy professionals, particularly in clinical expertise areas involving assessment of nicotine dependence and indications, dosages, adverse effects, contraindications, drug interactions and combinations of available pharmacotherapies. These gaps should be addressed, and the results should inform the design, implementation and evaluation of a pharmacy-based educational training program targeting current clinical issues in smoking cessation.
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-449
PMCID: PMC3777019  PMID: 24058894
Attitudes; Knowledge; Pharmacy; Questionnaire; Smoking cessation
15.  Medicinal herb use among asthmatic patients attending a specialty care facility in Trinidad 
Background
There is an increasing prevalence of asthma in the Caribbean and patients remain non-compliant to therapy despite the development of guidelines for management and prevention. Some patients may self-medicate with medicinal herbs for symptomatic relief, as there is a long tradition of use for a variety of ailments. The study assessed the prevalence of use and the factors affecting the decision to use herbs in asthmatic patients attending a public specialty care clinic in Trinidad.
Methods
A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted at the Chest Clinic in Trinidad using a de novo, pilot-tested, researcher-administered questionnaire between June and July 2003.
Results
Fifty-eight out of 191 patients (30.4%) reported using herbal remedies for symptomatic relief. Gender, age, ethnicity, and asthma severity did not influence the decision to use herbs; however, 62.5% of patients with tertiary level schooling used herbs, p = 0.025. Thirty-four of these 58 patients (58.6%) obtained herbs from their backyards or the supermarket; only 14 patients (24.1%) obtained herbs from an herbalist, herbal shop or pharmacy. Relatives and friends were the sole source of information for most patients (70.7%), and only 10.3% consulted an herbalist. Ginger, garlic, aloes, shandileer, wild onion, pepper and black sage were the most commonly used herbs.
Conclusions
Among patients attending the Chest Clinic in Trinidad the use of herbal remedies in asthma is relatively common on the advice of relatives and friends. It is therefore becoming imperative for healthcare providers to become more knowledgeable on this modality and to keep abreast with the latest developments.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-5-3
PMCID: PMC553979  PMID: 15713232
16.  The geographic accessibility of pharmacies in Nova Scotia 
Introduction:
Geographic proximity is an important component of access to primary care and the pharmaceutical services of community pharmacies. Variations in access to primary care have been found between rural and urban areas in Canadian and international jurisdictions. We studied access to community pharmacies in the province of Nova Scotia.
Methods:
We used information on the locations of 297 community pharmacies operating in Nova Scotia in June 2011. Population estimates at the census block level and network analysis were used to study the number of Nova Scotia residents living within 800 m (walking) and 2 km and 5 km (driving) distances of a pharmacy. We then simulated the impact of pharmacy closures on geographic access in urban and rural areas.
Results:
We found that 40.3% of Nova Scotia residents lived within walking distance of a pharmacy; 62.6% and 78.8% lived within 2 km and 5 km, respectively. Differences between urban and rural areas were pronounced: 99.2% of urban residents lived within 5 km of a pharmacy compared with 53.3% of rural residents. Simulated pharmacy closures had a greater impact on geographic access to community pharmacies in rural areas than urban areas.
Conclusion:
The majority of Nova Scotia residents lived within walking or short driving distance of at least 1 community pharmacy. While overall geographic access appears to be lower than in the province of Ontario, the difference appears to be largely driven by the higher proportion of rural dwellers in Nova Scotia. Further studies should examine how geographic proximity to pharmacies influences patients’ access to traditional and specialized pharmacy services, as well as health outcomes and adherence to therapy. Can Pharm J 2013;146:39-46.
doi:10.1177/1715163512473062
PMCID: PMC3676246  PMID: 23795168
17.  The prevalence and experience of Australian naturopaths and Western herbalists working within community pharmacies 
Background
Naturopaths and Western herbal medicine (WHM) practitioners were surveyed to identify their extent, experience and roles within the community pharmacy setting and to explore their attitudes to integration of complementary medicine (CM) practitioners within the pharmacy setting.
Method
Practising naturopaths and WHM practitioners were invited to participate in an anonymous, self-administered, on-line survey. Participants were recruited using the mailing lists and websites of CM manufacturers and professional associations.
Results
479 practitioners participated. 24% of respondents (n = 111) reported they had worked in community pharmacy, three-quarters for less than 5 years. Whilst in this role 74% conducted specialist CMs sales, 62% short customer consultations, 52% long consultations in a private room and 51% staff education. This was generally described as a positive learning experience and many appreciated the opportunity to utilise their specialist knowledge in the service of both customers and pharmacy staff. 14% (n = 15) did not enjoy the experience of working in pharmacy at all and suggested pharmacist attitude largely influenced whether the experience was positive or not. Few practitioners were satisfied with the remuneration received. 44% of the total sample provided comment on the issue of integration into pharmacy, with the main concern being the perceived incommensurate paradigms of practice between pharmacy and naturopathy. Of the total sample, 38% reported that they would consider working as a practitioner in retail pharmacy in future.
Conclusions
The level of integration of CM into pharmacy is extending beyond the mere stocking of supplements. Naturopaths and Western Herbalists are becoming utilised in pharmacies
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-41
PMCID: PMC3128856  PMID: 21600060
18.  Evaluation of antiplaque and antigingivitis effect of herbal mouthwash in treatment of plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, clinical trial 
Background:
Ayurvedic drugs have been used since ancient times to treat diseases including periodontal diseases. Oral rinses made from ayurvedic medicines are used in periodontal therapy to control bleeding and reduce inflammation. The aim of this clinical study is to verify the efficacy of herbal mouthwash containing Pilu, Bibhitaka, Nagavalli, Gandhapura taila, Ela, Peppermint satva, and Yavani satva on reduction of plaque and gingivitis.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 100 volunteers with clinical signs of mild to moderate gingivitis were selected and assigned to Group A (only scaling done) and Group B (scaling along with the use of herbal mouthwash). After recording the clinical parameters, the patients were instructed to use herbal mouthwash 15 ml for 30 s twice daily after food in Group B and oral hygiene instructions were given to all patients. Plaque and gingivitis assessment were carried out using the plaque index (Silness nd Loe, 1964), Gingival index (Loe And Silness, 1963), Gingival bleeding index (Ainamo and Bay, 1975) at baseline and at 21 days of the herbal mouthwash use. Statistically analysis was carried out using the student's t-test for normally distributed data and Wilcoxson test or Mann-Whitney U-test for skewed data.
Results:
Our results showed that herbal mouthwash was effective in treatment of plaque induced gingivitis in Group B when compared with the Group A.
Conclusion:
Herbal mouthwash is effective in treatment of plaque induced gingivitis and can be effectively used as an adjunct to mechanical therapy with lesser side-effects.
doi:10.4103/0972-124X.128208
PMCID: PMC3988643  PMID: 24744544
Gingivitis; herbal mouthwash; plaque
19.  Web-based Curriculum 
OBJECTIVE
To address the need for women's health education by designing, implementing, and evaluating a self-study, web-based women's health curriculum.
DESIGN
Cohort of students enrolled in the ambulatory portion of the medicine clerkship with comparison group of students who had not yet completed this rotation.
PARTICIPANTS/SETTING
Third- and fourth-year medical students on the required medicine clerkship (115 students completed the curriculum; 158 completed patient-related logs).
INTERVENTION
Following an extensive needs assessment and formulation of competencies and objectives, we developed a web-based women's health curriculum completed during the ambulatory portion of the medicine clerkship. The modules were case based and included web links, references, and immediate feedback on posttesting. We discuss technical issues with implementation and maintenance.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
We evaluated this curriculum using anonymous questionnaires, open-ended narrative comments, online multiple-choice tests, and personal digital assistant (PDA) logs of patient-related discussions of women's health. Students completing the curriculum valued learning women's health, preferred this self-directed learning over lecture, scored highly on knowledge tests, and were involved in more and higher-level discussions of women's health with faculty (P <.001).
CONCLUSIONS
We present a model for the systematic design of a web-based women's health curriculum as part of a medicine clerkship. The web-based instruction resolved barriers associated with limited curriculum time and faculty availability, provided an accessible and standard curriculum, and met the needs of adult learners (with their motivation to learn topics they value and apply this knowledge in their daily work). We hypothesize that our web-based curriculum spurred students to later discuss these topics with faculty. Web-based learning may be particularly suited for women's health because of its multidisciplinary nature and need for vertical integration throughout medical school curricula.
doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.40062.x
PMCID: PMC1490044  PMID: 15693931
women's health; computer-assisted instruction; medical education; adult learning; personal digital assistant
20.  Effects of rising tuition fees on medical school class composition and financial outlook 
Background
Since 1997, tuition has more than doubled at Ontario medical schools but has remained relatively stable in other Canadian provinces. We sought to determine whether the increasing tuition fees in Ontario affected the demographic characteristics and financial outlook of medical students in that province as compared with those of medical students in the rest of Canada.
Methods
As part of a larger Internet survey of all students at Canadian medical schools outside Quebec, conducted in January and February 2001, we compared the respondents from Ontario schools with those from the other schools (control group). Respondents were asked about their age, sex, self-reported family income (as a direct indicator of socioeconomic status), the first 3 digits of their postal code at graduation from high school (as an indirect indicator of socioeconomic status), and importance of financial considerations in choosing a specialty and location of practice. We used logistic regression models to see if temporal changes (1997 v. 2000) among Ontario medical students differed from those among medical students elsewhere in Canada apart from Quebec.
Results
Responses were obtained from 2994 (68.5%) of 4368 medical students. Across the medical schools, there was an increase in self-reported family income between 1997 and 2000 (p = 0.03). In Ontario, the proportion of respondents with a family income of less than $40 000 declined from 22.6% to 15.0%. However, compared with the control respondents, the overall rise in family income among Ontario students was not statistically significant. First-year Ontario students reported higher levels of expected debt at graduation than did graduating students (median $80 000 v. $57 000) (p < 0.001), and the proportion of students expecting to graduate with debt of at least $100 000 more than doubled. Neither of these differences was observed in the control group. First-year Ontario students were also more likely than fourth-year Ontario students to report that their financial situation was “very” or “extremely” stressful and to cite financial considerations as having a major influence on specialty choice or practice location. These differences were not observed in the control group.
Interpretation
At Canadian medical schools, there are fewer students from low-income families in general. However, Ontario medical students report a large increase in expected debt on graduation, an increased consideration of finances in deciding what or where to practise, and increasing financial stress, factors that are not observed among students in other provinces.
PMCID: PMC100876  PMID: 12002978
21.  Factors Relating to Academic Performance of Medical Students at the University of British Columbia 
The performance of medical students enrolled at the University of British Columbia from 1952 to 1961 is reviewed and related to certain descriptive factors available to the screening committee at the time of application. Almost 40% of enrolled students had academic difficulty in medical school; 16.4% failed a complete year. Since 91% of students who failed out, did so after freshman medicine examinations, these grades were examined for significant association with certain intellectual and non-intellectural factors. Sex and year of registration were not significantly associated with freshman performance, but permanent home address was: students from other Commonwealth countries did not perform as well as Canadians. Significant correlations were observed between both pre-medical grades and Medical College Admission Test scores and first-year medicine marks. By multiple regression analysis four factors were found to be predictive: age, number of pre-medical years completed at the time of application, overall pre-medical grade average and “Science” M.C.A.T. score. From the resulting equation, 77.4% of the grades of medical students who completed their freshman year in 1962 were predicted within one standard error. Students on the whole were noted to perform consistently in pre-medicine and medicine.
PMCID: PMC1921932  PMID: 14069612
22.  Effect of information, education and communication intervention on awareness about rational pharmacy practice in pharmacy students 
Indian Journal of Pharmacology  2011;43(4):381-384.
Background:
There is a growing indifference among the pharmacy practitioners towards their duty as information providers to the patients. The patients do not always get enough desired information about proper use of medicines from the prescribers also. This contributes to improper use of medicines by the patients.
Objectives:
To bring about awareness about rational pharmacy practice in pharmacy students for better service to the patients.
Material and Methods:
The final year students of Bachelor of Pharmacy (B. Pharm) from four colleges of Nagpur were enrolled for the study after informed consent. Their base knowledge was assessed through a written test which comprised of 27 objective questions related to rational pharmacy practice. This was followed by a series of seven articles on rational medicine use, published in leading local English news daily. The participants were reminded to read them on the day of publication of each article. As a backup, the articles were displayed on the notice board of respective colleges. Second intervention was a half day interactive session where series of six lectures were delivered to the participants on the right and wrong approaches in pharmacy practice. Posters about the do's and dont's of rational pharmacy practice were also displayed at the venue. The session was followed by a repeat test using the same pre-test to assess the change. Pre and post intervention data was compared using Fisher's Exact test.
Results:
It was observed that the intervention did bring about a positive change in the attitude and knowledge of the final year Pharmacy students about rational pharmacy practice.
Discussion:
The role of a pharmacist in health care provision is usually overlooked in India. Hence there is strong need for reinforcement in final year B. Pharm when most of the students go in for community service. Such interventions will be helpful in bringing about a positive change towards rational practice of pharmacy.
Conclusion:
This study showed that a properly timed and meticulously implemented intervention brings about a positive change in the attitude and knowledge of pharmacy students.
doi:10.4103/0253-7613.83105
PMCID: PMC3153697  PMID: 21844989
Current Index of Medical Specialities; Food and Drug Administration; Fisher's Exact test; Indian Drug Review; information, education, communication (IEC); knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP); Monthly Index of Medical Specialities; rational use
23.  A Renal Transplantation Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience 
Objectives
To establish and evaluate an ambulatory care renal transplantation clinic advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE).
Design
Students spend 5 weeks performing pharmaceutical care activities for renal transplant patients, presenting health-related topics, and conducting research. A paired t test was used to determine differences between students' pre- and post-APPE test scores. Standardized evaluations completed by the preceptor and the students were used to evaluate learning and the APPE.
Assessment
Posttest scores were significantly higher than pretest scores (n = 17; 88.2 ± 7.3 vs 55.9 ± 22.4; p < 0.001). Overall, students found this APPE enjoyable and believed that it increased their knowledge concerning transplant medicine and patient care.
Conclusion
With the recommendation that all transplant programs have clinical pharmacy services, it is imperative to train students to care for transplant patients. Information in this manuscript can be used as a guide for utilizing the combined resources from schools of pharmacy and transplantation centers to implement a renal transplant ambulatory care APPE.
PMCID: PMC1636893  PMID: 17136146
advanced pharmacy practice experience; pharmaceutical care; transplantation
24.  Characteristics of first-year students in Canadian medical schools 
Background
The demographic and socioeconomic profile of medical school classes has implications for where people choose to practise and whether they choose to treat certain disadvantaged groups. We aimed to describe the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of first-year Canadian medical students and compare them with those of the Canadian population to determine whether there are groups that are over- or underrepresented. Furthermore, we wished to test the hypothesis that medical students often come from privileged socioeconomic backgrounds.
Methods
As part of a larger Internet survey of all students at Canadian medical schools outside Quebec, conducted in January and February 2001, first-year students were asked to give their age, sex, self-described ethnic background using Statistics Canada census descriptions and educational background. Postal code at the time of high school graduation served as a proxy for socioeconomic status. Respondents were also asked for estimates of parental income and education. Responses were compared when possible with Canadian age-group-matched data from the 1996 census.
Results
Responses were obtained from 981 (80.2%) of 1223 first-year medical students. There were similar numbers of male and female students (51.1% female), with 65% aged 20 to 24 years. Although there were more people from visible minorities in medical school than in the Canadian population (32.4% v. 20.0%) (p < 0.001), certain minority groups (black and Aboriginal) were underrepresented, and others (Chinese, South Asian) were overrepresented. Medical students were less likely than the Canadian population to come from rural areas (10.8% v. 22.4%) (p < 0.001) and were more likely to have higher socioeconomic status, as measured by parents' education (39.0% of fathers and 19.4% of mothers had a master's or doctoral degree, as compared with 6.6% and 3.0% respectively of the Canadian population aged 45 to 64), parents' occupation (69.3% of fathers and 48.7% of mothers were professionals or high-level managers, as compared with 12.0% of Canadians) and household income (15.4% of parents had annual household incomes less than $40 000, as compared with 39.7% of Canadian households; 17.0% of parents had household incomes greater than $160 000, as compared with 2.7% of Canadian households with an income greater than $150 000). Almost half (43.5%) of the medical students came from neighbourhoods with median family incomes in the top quintile (p < 0.001). A total of 57.7% of the respondents had completed 4 years or less of postsecondary studies before medical school, and 29.3% had completed 6 or more years. The parents of the medical students tended to have occupations with higher social standing than did working adult Canadians; a total of 15.6% of the respondents had a physician parent.
Interpretation
Canadian medical students differ significantly from the general population, particularly with regard to ethnic background and socioeconomic status.
PMCID: PMC100877  PMID: 12002979
25.  The roles of herbal remedies in survival and quality of life among long-term breast cancer survivors - results of a prospective study 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:222.
Background
Few data exist on survival or health-related quality of life (QOL) related to herbal remedy use among long-term breast cancer survivors. The objective of this report is to examine whether herbal remedy use is associated with survival or the health-related QOL of these long-term breast cancer survivors.
Methods
In 1999-2000, we collected the information of herbal remedy use and QOL during a telephone interview with 371 Los Angeles Non-Hispanic/Hispanic white women who had survived more than 10 years after breast cancer diagnosis. QOL was measured using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36) questionnaire. Patients were followed for mortality from the baseline interview through 2007. 299 surviving patients completed a second telephone interview on QOL in 2002-2004. We used multivariable Cox proportional hazards methods to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for mortality and applied multivariable linear regression models to compare average SF-36 change scores (follow-up - baseline) between herbal remedy users and non-users.
Results
Fifty-nine percent of participants were herbal remedy users at baseline. The most commonly used herbal remedies were echinacea, herbal teas, and ginko biloba. Herbal remedy use was associated with non-statistically significant increases in the risks for all-cause (44 deaths, RR = 1.28, 95% CI = 0.62-2.64) and breast cancer (33 deaths, RR = 1.78, 95% CI = 0.72-4.40) mortality. Both herbal remedy users' and non-users' mental component summary scores on the SF-36 increased similarly from the first survey to the second survey (P = 0.16), but herbal remedy users' physical component summary scores decreased more than those of non-users (-5.7 vs. -3.2, P = 0.02).
Conclusions
Our data provide some evidence that herbal remedy use is associated with poorer survival and a poorer physical component score for health-related QOL among women who have survived breast cancer for at least 10 years. These conclusions are based on exploratory analyses of data from a prospective study using two-sided statistical tests with no correction for multiple testing and are limited by few deaths for mortality analysis and lack of information on when herbal remedy use was initiated or duration of or reasons for use.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-222
PMCID: PMC3126792  PMID: 21645383
herb; breast cancer; survival; mortality; QOL

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