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1.  A pilot study of complementary and alternative medicine use in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome 
Pharmacy Practice  2007;5(4):185-190.
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a complex disorder, with primary symptoms of sleep disturbances, pain, and fatigue. FMS is one of the most common reasons for patient visits to a rheumatologist. Previous studies have suggested that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in patients with rheumatic diseases is common, but such data specific to FMS patients is limited.
Objective
The following study sought to describe the prevalence of CAM use in a primary care practice of patients with FMS and assess whether these patients discuss CAM use with their physician, physician-extender, and/or pharmacist.
Methods
A one-group cross-sectional survey design was implemented in a large, community-based, private physician practice of patients diagnosed with FMS. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed during clinic visits. It solicited information related to demographic characteristics; FMS-specific health background; whether CAM use had been discussed with a health care provider; and the “ever-use” of common types of CAM. Respondents returned the questionnaire via US mail in a postage-paid, self-addressed envelope.
Results
A total of 115 surveys were distributed with 54 returned for analysis (47% completion rate). The sample was predominantly female, well educated and had a mean age of 55.6 years. All respondents were White. Most respondents (92.6%) reported using some type of CAM. Exercise (92.2%), chiropractic treatment (48.1%), lifestyle and diet (45.8%), relaxation therapy (44.9%), and dietary and herbal supplements (36.5%) were most commonly reported CAM therapies “ever-used” by respondents. Dietary and herbal supplements with the highest prevalence of “ever-use” were magnesium (19.2%), guaifenesin (11.5%), and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) (9.6%). Respondents most commonly discussed CAM with the clinic rheumatologist and the primary care physician (53.7% and 38.9%, respectively). Only 14.8% of respondents discussed CAM with a pharmacist. However, a significantly higher proportion of respondents who “ever-used” dietary and herbal supplements discussed CAM with a pharmacist compared to those who never used dietary and herbal supplements [chi square=6.03, p=0.014].
Conclusion
This pilot study suggests that CAM use is common in patients diagnosed with FMS. Compared to other healthcare providers, respondents were least likely to discuss CAM with a pharmacist. However, respondents who used dietary and herbal supplements were more likely to discuss CAM with a pharmacist compared to those who did not, suggesting the potential influence of pharmacist intervention.
PMCID: PMC4147799  PMID: 25170357
Fibromyalgia; Complementary Therapies; United Stated
2.  Patient attitudes regarding the role of the pharmacist and interest in expanded pharmacist services 
Canadian Pharmacists Journal : CPJ  2014;147(4):239-247.
Background:
Pharmacists are consistently ranked among the most trusted professionals, and research shows high levels of satisfaction with pharmacist services. Studies have also shown that the public is generally unaware of the full range of roles and responsibilities of a pharmacist. The purpose of this study was to explore the public’s knowledge and attitudes regarding the role of the community pharmacist and to determine their likelihood of using expanded pharmacist services.
Methods:
Adults across Newfoundland and Labrador were surveyed by telephone. Survey questions addressed how frequently participants visited the pharmacy, understanding of duties undertaken by pharmacists, perceptions and attitudes regarding pharmacists as health care professionals, likelihood of using expanded pharmacist services and participant demographics. Comparisons were made between responses from urban and rural participants and frequent versus nonfrequent pharmacy users, to determine if there were any differences.
Results:
The majority of participants were generally aware of what pharmacists do when filling prescriptions; those who visited the pharmacy more frequently appeared to be more informed. Participants indicated they would take advantage of the expanded services suggested, with greatest interest in receiving advice for minor ailment management and prescription refills from pharmacists. Results support the prevailing view that pharmacists are trusted health professionals who should have access to patients’ health information to provide best care.
Conclusion:
The public is aware of aspects of the pharmacist’s role, but opportunities exist to better educate the public on the knowledge, skills and unique professional abilities of pharmacists to support uptake of expanded pharmacist services.
doi:10.1177/1715163514535731
PMCID: PMC4212442  PMID: 25360150
3.  Consumers' experiences and values in conventional and alternative medicine paradigms: a problem detection study (PDS) 
Background
This study explored consumer perceptions of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and relationships with CAM and conventional medicine practitioners.
A problem detection study (PDS) was used. The qualitative component to develop the questionnaire used a CAM consumer focus group to explore conventional and CAM paradigms in healthcare. 32 key issues, seven main themes, informed the questionnaire (the quantitative PDS component - 36 statements explored using five-point Likert scales.)
Results
Of 300 questionnaires distributed (Brisbane, Australia), 83 consumers responded. Results indicated that consumers felt empowered by using CAM and they reported positive relationships with CAM practitioners. The perception was that CAM were used most effectively as long-term therapy (63% agreement), but that conventional medicines would be the best choice for emergency treatment (81% agreement). A majority (65%) reported that doctors appeared uncomfortable about consumers' visits to CAM practitioners. Most consumers (72%) believed that relationships with and between health practitioners could be enhanced by improved communication. It was agreed that information sharing between consumers and healthcare practitioners is important, and reported that "enough" information is shared between CAM practitioners and consumers. Consumers felt comfortable discussing their medicines with pharmacists, general practitioners and CAM practitioners, but felt most comfortable with their CAM practitioners.
Conclusions
This PDS has emphasized the perceived importance of open communication between consumers, CAM and conventional providers, and has exposed areas where CAM consumers perceive that issues exist across the CAM and conventional medicine paradigms. There is a lot of information which is perceived as not being shared at present and there are issues of discomfort and distrust which require resolution to develop concordant relationships in healthcare. Further research should be based on optimisation of information sharing, spanning both conventional and CAM fields of healthcare, due to both the relevance of concordance principles within CAM modalities and the widespread use of CAM by consumers.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-39
PMCID: PMC3349512  PMID: 22490367
4.  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
5.  Academic doctors' views of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and its role within the NHS: an exploratory qualitative study 
Background
There has been a marked increase in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the UK population in recent years. Surveys of doctors' perspectives on CAM have identified a variety of views and potential information needs. While these are useful for describing the proportions of doctors who hold particular attitudes towards CAM, they are less helpful for understanding why. In addition, while the views of non-academic doctors have begun to be studied, the perspective and rationales of academic doctors remains under-researched. It seems important to investigate the views of those with a research-orientation, given the emphasis on the need for more scientific evidence in recent debates on CAM.
Methods
This exploratory study used qualitative methods to explore academic doctors' views of CAM and the rationales they provided for their views. A purposeful sampling strategy was used to identify doctors with a dual clinical and academic role in the Bristol area, with an anticipated variety of views on CAM. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine doctors. The data were analysed thematically, drawing on the Framework Approach.
Results
The doctors expressed a spectrum of views on CAM, falling into three broad groups: the 'enthusiasts', the 'sceptics' and the 'undecided'. Scepticism or uncertainty about the value of CAM was prominent, except among those practising a form of CAM. A variety of rationales underpinned their perspectives on CAM, a key recurring rationale being their perspective on the scientific evidence base. The main themes arising included: the role of doctors' professional experiences of conventional medicine and CAM in shaping their attitudes towards CAM, doctor-patient communication about CAM and patient disclosure, whether there is a need for training and education in CAM for doctors, a hierarchy of acceptability of CAM and the nature of evidence; and the role of CAM within the NHS.
Conclusion
Despite the caution or scepticism towards CAM expressed by doctors in this study, more open doctor-patient communication about CAM may enable doctors' potential concerns about CAM to be addressed, or at least enhance their knowledge of what treatments or therapies their patients are using. Offering CAM to patients may serve to enhance patients' treatment choices and even increase doctors' fulfilment in their practice. However, given the recurring concerns about lack of scientific evidence expressed by the doctors in this study, perceptions of the evidence base may remain a significant barrier to greater integration of CAM within the NHS.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-7-17
PMCID: PMC1896178  PMID: 17537248
6.  Inflammatory bowel disease professionals’ attitudes to and experiences of complementary and alternative medicine 
Background
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in patients with IBD is on the increase. Patients report they use CAM when their condition is unresponsive to conventional medication or when they suffer from side-effects, negative stress and disease-related concerns. CAM use may improve patients’ well-being but it can also lead to side-effects and interactions with conventional medications. Research on attitudes to and experiences of CAM among healthcare professionals working with IBD patients is not well studied. Studies in this area could lead to enhanced awareness of and improved communication about CAM between care staff and IBD patients. The aim of this study was to explore IBD professionals’ attitudes to and experience of CAM.
Methods
Sixteen physicians and nurses, 26–70 years old, who had worked with IBD patients for 1–42 years, were recruited. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted. Qualitative content analysis was performed.
Results
Participants stated patients used CAM to improve their well-being generally and there conditions specifically. Participants had a positive attitude towards CAM and respected their patients’ decision to use it, but reported a lack of CAM knowledge. They required education about CAM to be able to meet patients’ needs and provide adequate information. The result of this study indicates that there is a need for CAM education to be implemented in nursing and medical school.
Conclusions
All participants had experience of IBD patients who had used CAM in an attempt to achieve improvement and well-being. Attitudes to CAM were mainly positive, although a problematic aspect was lack of knowledge and evidence in relation to CAM. Implementing CAM education in nursing and medical school will allow healthcare professionals to gain an understanding of therapies widely used by patients with IBD. In clinical practice, using a standard questionnaire regarding CAM use allow healthcare professionals to better understand their patients’ wishes and current CAM use.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-349
PMCID: PMC3867669  PMID: 24325595
Attitudes CAM; Experiences; Healthcare professionals; IBD
7.  Questions about complementary and alternative medicine to the Regional Medicines Information and Pharmacovigilance Centres in Norway (RELIS): a descriptive pilot study 
Background
Provision of clinically relevant information about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to health care professionals is not well described. The aim of the study was to assess questions about CAM to the Regional Medicines Information and Pharmacovigilance Centres in Norway (RELIS).
Methods
All question-answers pairs (QAPs) in the RELIS database indexed with alternative medicine from 2005-2010 constituted the study material. A randomly selected sample of 100 QAPs was characterized with regard to type of question (category, patient-specific or general), occupation and workplace of enquirer, the type of information search performed (simple or advanced), and if the answers contained information to provide factual or consultative replies (facts about or advice on clinical use of CAM, respectively). Proportions were compared with Fisher’s exact test with significance at the 0.05 level.
Results
One thousand and thirty-eight (7.7%) out of 13 482 questions involved CAM. Eighty-two out of 100 questions concerned products containing one or more herbs, vitamins and minerals as well as other substances. Thirty-eight out of 100 questions concerned the category documentation (substance identification and/or literature reports about clinical effects), 36 interactions, 16 adverse effects, 9 pregnancy and lactation, and 1 question concerned contraindications. Sixty-three questions were patient-specific and 37 general. Fifty-four questions came from physicians, 33 from pharmacists and 13 from others (including nurses, midwives, students, CAM practitioners, and the public). Pharmacists asked more frequently about interactions while physicians asked more frequently about adverse effects (p < 0.05). Seventy-six of the questions came from outside hospital, mainly general practice and community pharmacies. Fifty-nine answers were based on a simple and 41 on an advanced information search. Thirty-three factual and 38 consultative answers were provided. In 29 answers, search provided no information. Lack of information to provide an answer was not significantly different between patient-specific (31.7%) and general questions (24.3%).
Conclusions
General practice and community pharmacies are the main sources for questions about CAM to RELIS. Physicians are concerned about adverse effects while pharmacists are concerned about interactions. Lack of information to provide answers to patient-specific and general questions about CAM represents a problem.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-56
PMCID: PMC3932037  PMID: 24529279
Drug information; Complementary and alternative medicine; Decision support
8.  Awareness, use, attitude and perceived need for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) education among undergraduate pharmacy students in Sierra Leone: a descriptive cross-sectional survey 
Background
The widespread use of CAM around the world requires health professionals including pharmacists to have the required knowledge to better advise their patients. This has lead to an increased need for the inclusion of CAM instruction into the mainstream undergraduate Pharmacy education. This study was designed to describe pharmacy students awareness, use, attitude and perceived need for CAM education at COMAHS-USL and at the same time, determine how these descriptive outcomes are influenced by the socio-demographic variables considered in this study.
Methods
A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted among undergraduate pharmacy students (n = 90) at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone using a structured questionnaire. Chi square, fisher exact test, and general linear model univariate analysis were used to compare data between independent cohorts.
Results
All 90 (100%) of the students were aware and have used (except Ayurveda) at least one of the listed CAM modalities. Herbal/Botanical/Supplements followed by Spirituality/Prayer were the most commonly known and used CAM modalities. Almost two thirds of students considered the CAM modalities they have used to be effective and not harmful. Overall, pharmacy students had a positive attitude towards CAM (Mean attitudinal score = 34.9 ± 4. 5 (range 19–43)) with fourth and fifth year students showing a significantly less positive attitude as compared to the first, second and third year (B = −3.203 p = 0.001, 95% confidence interval - 5.093 to −1.314). The media [53 (58.9%)] was the most frequent source of information about CAM. Nearly all students [89 (98.9%)] agreed that CAM knowledge is important to them as future pharmacist and that CAM should be included into the Pharmacy curriculum at COMAHS-USL [81 (90.0%)].
Conclusion
Pharmacy students in Sierra Leone are aware of and have used at least one of the CAM modalities and do show a positive attitude towards CAM. This was demonstrated by their overwhelming endorsement for CAM course to be part of the undergraduate pharmacy training at COMAHS-USL. This study among others will inform and guide the development and implementation of CAM instruction at COMAHS-USL.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-438) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-438
PMCID: PMC4236455  PMID: 25380656
Complementary and alternative medicine; Pharmacy students; Awareness; Attitude; Use; Education; Sierra Leone
9.  Perceptions, use and attitudes of pharmacy customers on complementary medicines and pharmacy practice 
Background
Complementary medicines (CMs) are popular amongst Australians and community pharmacy is a major supplier of these products. This study explores pharmacy customer use, attitudes and perceptions of complementary medicines, and their expectations of pharmacists as they relate to these products.
Methods
Pharmacy customers randomly selected from sixty large and small, metropolitan and rural pharmacies in three Australian states completed an anonymous, self administered questionnaire that had been pre-tested and validated.
Results
1,121 customers participated (response rate 62%). 72% had used CMs within the previous 12 months, 61% used prescription medicines daily and 43% had used both concomitantly. Multivitamins, fish oils, vitamin C, glucosamine and probiotics were the five most popular CMs. 72% of people using CMs rated their products as 'very effective' or 'effective enough'. CMs were as frequently used by customers aged 60 years or older as younger customers (69% vs. 72%) although the pattern of use shifted with older age.
Most customers (92%) thought pharmacists should provide safety information about CMs, 90% thought they should routinely check for interactions, 87% thought they should recommend effective CMs, 78% thought CMs should be recorded in customer's medication profile and 58% thought pharmacies stocking CMs should also employ a complementary medicine practitioner. Of those using CMs, 93% thought it important for pharmacists to be knowledgeable about CMs and 48% felt their pharmacist provides useful information about CMs.
Conclusions
CMs are widely used by pharmacy customers of all ages who want pharmacists to be more involved in providing advice about these products.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-38
PMCID: PMC2919443  PMID: 20646290
10.  Comparative survey of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) attitudes, use, and information-seeking behaviour among medical students, residents & faculty 
Background
There is significant and growing national interest for introducing Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) instruction into allopathic medical education. We measured CAM attitudes, use, and information-seeking behaviors as a baseline to evaluate future planned CAM instruction.
Methods
Cross-sectional and longitudinal survey data on CAM attitudes, modality use, and common information resources was collected for (a) medical students (n = 355), (b) interns entering residencies in medical and surgical disciplines (n = 258), and (c) faculty from diverse health professions attending workshops on evidence-based CAM (n = 54). One student cohort was tracked longitudinally in their first, second and third years of training.
Results
Compared to medical students and interns, faculty who teach or intend to integrate CAM into their instruction had significantly (p < .0005) more positive attitudes and used CAM modalities significantly (p < .0005) more often. Medical students followed longitudinally showed no change in their already positive attitudes. The 3 survey groups did not differ on the total number of CAM information resources they used. Each group surveyed used about two out of the five common information sources listed, with the Internet and journals most frequently cited.
Conclusion
Students, interns and a selected faculty group demonstrate positive attitudes toward CAM and frequently use various CAM modalities. CAM instruction should therefore be focused on acquiring knowledge of available CAM modalities and skills to appraise evidence to appropriately advise patients on best approaches to CAM use. Trainees may benefit from exposure to a wider array of CAM information resources.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-6-58
PMCID: PMC1702344  PMID: 17156463
11.  Public perception on the role of community pharmacists in self-medication and self-care in Hong Kong 
Background
The choices for self-medication in Hong Kong are much diversified, including western and Chinese medicines and food supplements. This study was to examine Hong Kong public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours regarding self-medication, self-care and the role of pharmacists in self-care.
Methods
A cross-sectional phone survey was conducted, inviting people aged 18 or older to complete a 37-item questionnaire that was developed based on the Thematic Household surveys in Hong Kong, findings of the health prorfessional focus group discussions on pharmacist-led patient self management and literature. Telephone numbers were randomly selected from residential phone directories. Trained interviewers invited eligible persons to participate using the "last birthday method". Associations of demographic characteristics with knowledge, attitudes and beliefs on self-medication, self-care and role of pharmacists, and spending on over-the-counter (OTC) products were analysed statistically.
Results
A total of 1, 560 phone calls were successfully made and 1, 104 respondents completed the survey which indicated a response rate of 70.8%. 63.1% had adequate knowledge on using OTC products. Those who had no formal education/had attended primary education (OR = 3.19, 95%CI 1.78-5.72; p < 0.001), had attended secondary education (OR = 1.50, 95%CI 1.03-2.19; p = 0.035), and aged ≥60 years (OR = 1.82, 95% CI 1.02-3.26; p = 0.042) were more likely to have inadequate knowledge on self-medication. People with chronic disease also tended to spend more than HKD100 on western (OR = 3.58, 95%CI 1.58-8.09; p = 0.002) and Chinese OTC products (OR = 2.94, 95%CI 1.08-7.95; p = 0.034). 94.6% believed that patients with chronic illnesses should self-manage their diseases. 68% agreed that they would consult a pharmacist before using OTC product but only 45% agreed that pharmacists could play a leading role in self-care. Most common reasons against pharmacist consultation on self-medication and self-care were uncertainty over the role of pharmacists and low acceptance level of pharmacists.
Conclusions
The majority of respondents supported patients with chronic illness to self-manage their diseases but less than half agreed to use a pharmacist-led approach in self-care. The government should consider developing doctors-pharmacists partnership programs in the community, enhancing the role of pharmacists in primary care and providing education to patients to improve their awareness on the role of pharmacists in self-medication and self-care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-19
PMCID: PMC3252282  PMID: 22118309
12.  Attitudes Toward Antiretroviral Therapy and Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Chinese HIV-Infected Patients 
HIV has become a significant health issue in China, and an increasing number of HIV-infected individuals are in need of care. Current reports confirm more than 230,000 cases of HIV infection and estimate that approximately 700,000 people are now infected with HIV, although approximately 70% of these individuals do not realize they are infected (Gill & Okie, 2007).
China's national antiretroviral therapy (ART) program, Four Frees and One Care, began in 2003, and ART treatment is now widely available in China (Zhang et al., 2007). Under this program, the following services are available to eligible citizens: (a) free ART for all AIDS patients in financial difficulty, (b) free schooling for AIDS orphans and children of AIDS patients, (c) free counseling and prevention measures to prevent mother-to-child-transmission for HIV-infected pregnant women, and (d) free HIV antibody testing and counseling, provided by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC). “One Care” means providing care to AIDS patients and their families (Zhang, Pan, Yu, Wen, & Zhao, 2005). Prior to 2003, only a few people in China had access to ART, and clinical expertise in HIV medicine was limited to the major centers in a few eastern cities (Zhang et al., 2007). When ART is the dominant method of treatment, however, its use is complicated by the presence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which has remained a substitute and supplement for conventional HIV therapy (Hsiao et al., 2003), even after ART became available (Josephs, Fleishman, Gaist, & Gebo, 2007).
CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine (National Institutes of Health, 2008). Commonly, CAM includes a wide range of practices that do not fit within the dominant allopathic model of health care (Bishop, Yardley, & Lewith, 2007), including but not limited to herbalism, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture, and diet-based therapies (Bratman & Steven, 1997). TCM has been used in Chinese society for more than 5,000 years. In the TCM approach, the body is recognized and treated as a whole entity, and diseases are identified as conditions caused by internal imbalances. The role of doctors is to identify imbalances and then correct them; the body is then expected to be able to heal itself (Tsao, Dobalian, Myers, & Zeltzer, 2005). The balancing factors of the yin and yang, or of the cold and hot forces, govern health and modulate some Chinese eating and pain management practices (Wong-Kim & Merighi, 2007). The integration of ART and CAM therefore has important implications in health outcomes, especially in China where the use of CAM is widespread.
Three types of treatment systems are practiced in Chinese society: (a) allopathic Western medicine offered by health care professionals in clinics and hospitals; (b) Buyao, which is over-the-counter popular medicine and includes teas, soups, tablets, herbal preparations, and tonics, which are similar to herb supplements used in some Western countries; and (c) TCM or Zhongyi, provided by trained Chinese herbalists, which incorporates a wide range of theories, therapies, and practices, some of which are medicinal, some physical, and some supernatural (Ma et al., 2008). Many Chinese people use all three types of treatment simultaneously.
In the West, the use of CAM is widespread among HIV-infected individuals. From 1980 to 1996, 27% to 100% of HIV-infected patients used CAM (Ernst, 1997), and the rates of CAM remained steady when compared with the era before highly active ART (Josephs et al., 2007). Some people living with HIV (PLWH) used CAM to replace the prescribed ART treatment regimen (Owen-Smith, Diclemente, & Wingood, 2007), while others used it as a complement to conventional HIV therapy (Hsiao et al., 2003).
A variety of factors influence an individual's decision to use CAM. In Western countries, women who were more educated and who had lived longer with HIV were more likely to use CAM (Owen-Smith et al., 2007). Pain was a strong predictor of CAM use, and increased pain over time was associated with the use of unlicensed or illicit underground drugs that held a potential for harm (Tsao et al., 2005). Overall, the most common source of information about CAM was from patients' friends (Wiwanitkit, 2003). Generally, CAM users perceived complementary therapies as useful, although there is no evidence to suggest that these treatments are particularly effective. CAM is generally perceived as “safe,” despite evidence of harmful interactions between some herbal medicines and medical treatments and the evidence of associated risks (Ma et al., 2007). Specifically, recent studies have shown that herbal medicines can interact with ART in such a way as to contribute to treatment failure (Ma et al., 2007). Physicians around the world, however, do not routinely discuss CAM therapies with PLWH, despite knowing that CAM therapies are widely used (Ma et al., 2008; Hsiao et al., 2003).
Studies have examined PLWH attitudes toward ART and CAM in different countries (Littlewood & Vanable, 2008). One study described nurses in Uganda using a traditional, nurse-prepared ointment on PLWH as an alternative medication for skin problems because they “know it works” (Hardon et al., 2008). CAM has also been used to treat the psychological and physical effects of illness and the side effects of ART (Kaufman & Gregory, 2007). Studies show, however, that many PLWH do not report CAM use to their medical providers (Hsiao et al., 2003). To date, there has been little research on CAM use in the Chinese PLWH population.
This qualitative study explored issues related to positive and negative attitudes toward both ART and CAM in Chinese PLWH in Beijing, China. The study was part of a larger project examining behavioral interventions meant to enhance ART adherence in PLWH in China (Chen et al., 2007; Starks et al., 2008). Semi-structured, in-depth, interviews were used to explore PLWHA attitudes, experiences, and perceptions about ART and CAM.
doi:10.1016/j.jana.2008.12.004
PMCID: PMC2684986  PMID: 19427598
13.  Decisions to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by male cancer patients: information-seeking roles and types of evidence used 
Background
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is increasingly popular with cancer patients and yet information provision or discussion about CAM by health professionals remains low. Previous research suggests that patients may fear clinicians' 'disapproval' if they raise the subject of CAM, and turn to other sources to acquire information about CAM. However, little empirical research has been conducted into how cancer patients acquire, and, more importantly evaluate CAM information before deciding which CAM therapies to try.
Methods
Qualitative study, comprising semi-structured interviews with 43 male cancer patients of varying ages, cancer type and stage of illness, 34 of whom had used CAM. They were recruited from a range of NHS and non-NHS settings in Bristol, England.
Results
As a result of the lack of CAM information from health professionals, men in this study became either 'pro-active seekers' or 'passive recipients' of such information. Their main information resource was the 'lay referral' network of family, friends and acquaintances, especially females. 'Traditional' information sources, including books, magazines, leaflets and the media were popular, more so in fact than the internet. Views on the internet ranged from enthusiasm or healthy scepticism through to caution or disinterest. CAM information was generally regarded as 'empowering' as it broadened treatment and self-care options. A minority of participants were information averse fearing additional choices that might disrupt their fragile ability to cope. There was general consensus that CAM information should be available via the NHS, to give it a 'stamp of approval', which combined with guidance from informed health professionals, could help patients to make 'guided' choices. However, a small minority of these men valued the independence of CAM from the NHS and deliberately sought 'alternative' information sources and treatment options.
Men were selective in identifying particular therapies to use and sceptical about others, basing their choices on forms of 'evidence' that were personally meaningful: personal stories of individuals who had been helped by CAM; the long history and enduring popularity of some therapies; the plausibility of the mechanism of action; a belief or trust in individual therapies or their providers; scientific evidence. Scientific evidence ranked low in the men's personal decision-making about CAM, while it was recognised as important for NHS support for CAM.
Conclusion
These male cancer patients valued the support and guidance of 'trusted individuals' in making choices about CAM. Trusted health professionals could also play a significant role in helping patients to make informed choices. Any such dialogue must, however, acknowledge the different standards of evidence used by patients and clinicians to evaluate the benefits or otherwise of CAM therapies. Such open communication could help to foster an environment of mutual trust where patients are encouraged to discuss their interest in CAM, rather than perpetuate covert, undisclosed use of CAM with its attendant potential hazards.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-7-25
PMCID: PMC2000907  PMID: 17683580
14.  A survey on the factors influencing the pattern of medicine's use: Concerns on irrational use of drugs 
Objective:
Pharmacists have a remarkable role in rational use of drugs by dissemination of drug information to guide patients, physicians, and policy makers. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the pharmacists’ view point about the main factors affecting current drug use pattern regarding rational drug use and the most effective strategies for improving and promoting rational drug use among pharmacists.
Methods:
In a cross-sectional survey, pre-designed questionnaires were filled in convenient sampling by pharmacists who had attended the congress of rational drug use in Tehran, Iran.
Findings:
A total of 144 pharmacists with the average age of 40.78 years old were enrolled to the study. Data indicated that the most priorities in irrational use of drugs from pharmacists’ view point were lack of appropriate cooperation and communication between physicians and pharmacists (39%), pharmacists’ low tariff and economic issues (34%), lack of public knowledge about drug usage (45%), and lack of supervisory regulations on pharmacy practice (15.8%).
Conclusion:
In this study, lack of public knowledge and awareness about appropriate use of medicines was the most important element from pharmacists’ viewpoint in occurrence of irrational drug use. Dissemination of information and compiling of diverse strategies in education, management, regulation, and finance can be very efficient due to a strong relationship between drug policies and performance of regulations and supervisions as well as drug services.
doi:10.4103/2279-042X.117385
PMCID: PMC4076903  PMID: 24991605
Drug consultation; drug information; drug policy; pharmacists’ roles; rational drug use
15.  The use of complementary and alternative medicine by women experiencing menopausal symptoms in Bologna 
BMC Women's Health  2010;10:7.
Background
The present study describes Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use amongst Italian women transitioning through menopause. Popularity and perceived effectiveness of CAM treatments, use of pharmaceutical medications, characteristics of CAM users, the extent of communication between medical practitioners and women about their use of CAM, and variables associated with CAM use were also investigated.
Methods
Women, aged 45-65 years attending Family Planning and Women's Health clinics or Menopause Centres in Bologna were invited to complete a voluntary, anonymous, self administered questionnaire, which was used in a previous study in Sydney. The questionnaire was translated and adapted for use amongst Italian women. Data on general demographic and health characteristics, menopause related symptoms and the use of CAM and pharmaceutical treatments during the previous 12 months were collected.
Results
In total, 1,203 women completed the survey, of which 1,106 were included in the final sample. Of women who had symptoms linked with menopause and/or used remedies to alleviate symptoms, 33.5% reported to have used CAM. Among these, 23.5% had consulted one or more practitioners and 24% had used at least one CAM product.
Approximately nine out of ten respondents reported medical practitioners did not seek information about their use of CAM; while one third of CAM users did not disclose the use of CAM to their physician. Nevertheless, medical practitioners were the most popular source of information. From the multivariate analysis, variables associated with CAM use were: professional employment, time since the last natural menses, use of CAM for conditions other than menopause, and presence of some severe symptoms.
Conclusions
The relatively high prevalence of CAM use by women transitioning through menopause should encourage research initiatives into determining which CAM treatments are the safest and effective. The increasing and likely concomitant use of CAM with HRT and other pharmaceuticals underlines the need for the implementation of a surveillance system to report and monitor possible drug-herb adverse events. The discrepancy between women preferring to seek information about CAM from their medical doctor and the difficulties noted in communication between doctor and patient should encourage educational initiatives on CAM by health-care agencies and institutions.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-10-7
PMCID: PMC2846842  PMID: 20187964
16.  Comparison of Attitudes, Beliefs, and Resource-seeking Behavior for CAM Among First- and Third-Year Czech Pharmacy Students 
Objectives
To assess and compare first- and third-year Czech pharmacy students' attitudes toward CAM, CAM use, CAM evidence, recommending CAM to patients, and including CAM in the pharmacy curricula.
Methods
The CAM Health Belief Questionnaire (CHBQ) was translated from English to Czech and administered to 250 first-year and 187 third-year students.
Results
The students' mean CHBQ score was 48.5, affirming positive attitudes toward CAM. Vitamins, herbs, massage, and relaxation were the most commonly used therapies among students. Czech students reported significantly low use of evidence-based resources on CAM. Ninety percent of the pharmacy students surveyed would recommend CAM and 89% believed pharmacists should be knowledgeable of CAM. Ninety-one percent of first-year vs 78% of third-year students supported CAM education (p = 0.01).
Conclusions
Czech students have positive attitudes about CAM, but are less likely to access evidence-based information. They agree pharmacists should be educated about CAM.
PMCID: PMC2384199  PMID: 18483592
attitudes; complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); curriculum; survey
17.  A cross sectional pilot study on assessing the knowledge, attitude and behavior of community pharmacists to adverse drug reaction related aspects in the Sultanate of Oman 
Background and objectives
Adverse drug reaction (ADR) monitoring and reporting requires a multidisciplinary approach and pharmacists have a major role to play in it. The present pilot study was conducted to assess the knowledge, attitude and behavior of community pharmacists to ADR related aspects in the Sultanate of Oman.
Methods
A self-administered questionnaire comprising of 21 questions were distributed to a random sample of pharmacists in two Governorates in the Sultanate of Oman. It assessed the knowledge of pharmacists on some of the selected basic aspects of drug safety. Further, the knowledge and attitude of community pharmacists toward ADR reporting and their behavior on ADR related aspects were assessed. A scoring scheme was used to estimate the median total score of participants for various parameters. Obtained scores were correlated with the demographics of the respondents.
Results
A total of 107 community pharmacists participated in the survey giving a response rate of 72.3%. The responses of the pharmacists to the questions on the drug safety of individual drugs were incorrect for some important and practical questions. Consequently, total median score corresponding to these questions was 5 (Inter Quartile Range, IQR 2) out of a possible maximum score of 9, which was below the acceptable score. Total median score based on knowledge, attitude and behavior was 38 (IQR 8) out of a possible maximum of 50 which shows a moderate score. Lack of awareness on how to report an ADR and concern that the report may be wrong were the most common factors discouraging pharmacists from reporting ADRs. Qualification as well as years of experience were the only demographic parameters which had an influence on the score obtained by the pharmacists.
Conclusions
Even though the pharmacists had an acceptable knowledge, attitude and behavior on ADR reporting and related aspects, a good number of them had below than acceptable knowledge on drug safety related aspects of specific drugs. Educational programs have to be continued to generate awareness on how to report ADR and stimulate pharmacists’ more active participation in the pharmacovigilance program. There is a genuine need to have training programs to improve the knowledge of pharmacists on ADR related aspects which are of benefit on a daily basis which could greatly have an impact on patient safety.
doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2013.07.006
PMCID: PMC3950505  PMID: 24648829
Knowledge; Attitude; Behavior; Community pharmacists; Adverse drug reactions; Oman
18.  Public’s attitudes towards community pharmacy in Qatar: a pilot study 
Objectives
To assess the public’s attitudes towards the community pharmacist’s role in Qatar, to investigate the public’s use of community pharmacy, and to determine the public’s views of and satisfaction with community pharmacy services currently provided in Qatar.
Materials and methods
Three community pharmacies in Qatar were randomly selected as study sites. Patients 16 years of age and over who were able to communicate in English or Arabic were randomly approached and anonymously interviewed using a multipart pretested survey.
Results
Over 5 weeks, 58 patients were interviewed (60% response rate). A total of 45% of respondents perceived community pharmacists as having a good balance between health and business matters. The physician was considered the first person to contact to answer drug- related questions by 50% of respondents. Most patients agreed that the community pharmacist should provide them with the medication directions of use (93%) and advise them about the treatment of minor ailments (79%); however, more than 70% didn’t expect the community pharmacist to monitor their health progress or to perform any health screening. Half of the participants (52%) reported visiting the pharmacy at least monthly. The top factor that affected a patient’s choice of any pharmacy was pharmacy location (90%). When asked about their views about community pharmacy services in Qatar, only 37% agreed that the pharmacist gave them sufficient time to discuss their problem and was knowledgeable enough to answer their questions.
Conclusion
This pilot study suggested that the public has a poor understanding of the community pharmacist’s role in monitoring drug therapy, performing health screening, and providing drug information. Several issues of concern were raised including insufficient pharmacist– patient contact time and unsatisfactory pharmacist knowledge. To advance pharmacy practice in Qatar, efforts may be warranted to address identified issues and to promote the community pharmacist’s role in drug therapy monitoring, drug information provision, and health screening.
doi:10.2147/PPA.S22117
PMCID: PMC3176180  PMID: 21949604
pharmacist; public; attitudes; Qatar
19.  CONTINUING PHARMACEUTICAL EDUCATION FOR COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS IN THE EASTERN PROVINCE OF SAUDI ARABIA 
Background:
Community pharmacists in Saudi Arabia very often make decisions that affect patient outcome. Previous studies have indicated that they have access to limited sources of information. Therefore, structured continuing pharmaceutical education (CPE) is necessary to improve their standards and attitudes.
Aims:
Identify the most important topics for CPE as well as the most significant barriers to conducting CPE successfully.
Methods:
A questionnaire was distributed to 120 pharmacists working in 88 community pharmacies in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The survey contained five sections: general background, topics for CPE that could be of great interest to community pharmacists, possible obstacles to attending CPE, method of instruction, and the most suitable time and day of the week for conducting CPE.
Results:
One hundred and five (87.5%) pharmacists answered the survey questionnaire. The rank order of the five most selected topics for CPE were: drug interaction (81.9%), drug use during pregnancy (77.1%), use of anti-microbial agents (62.5%), pharmaceutical ethics (53.3%), geriatric and pediatric pharmacology (45.7%). For pharmacists, the most important obstacles to attending CPE were lack of time (96.2%), distance from practice (74.2%), and lack of programs or information about these programs (54.3%). Interestingly, 47.6% of the pharmacists recommended credentialing CPE and stated that knowing the lecturer was not considered an important factor.
Conclusion and recommendations:
The findings of this study demonstrated that pharmacists are willing to participate in CPE programs. However, the working conditions of pharmacists would be a major barrier to their attendance. Therefore, improvement of the working conditions of community pharmacists, development of credited CPE programs in each region, as well as improving communication between the Saudi Pharmaceutical Association and community pharmacists are highly recommended.
PMCID: PMC3439743  PMID: 23008650
Continuing pharmaceutical education; pharmaceutical care; community pharmacists; community pharmacies; Saudi Arabia
20.  Attitudes toward integrative paediatrics: a national survey among youth health are physicians in the Netherlands 
Background
Integrative Medicine (IM) is an emerging field in paediatrics, especially in the USA. The purpose of the present study was to assess the attitudes and beliefs of Youth Health Care (YHC) physicians in the Netherlands toward IM in paediatrics.
Methods
In October 2010, a link to an anonymous, self-reporting, 30-item web-based questionnaire was mailed to all members of the Dutch Organisation of YHC physicians. The questionnaire included questions on familiarity with IM, attitudes towards Integrative Paediatrics (IP), use and knowledge of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), demographic and practice characteristics.
Results
A total of 276 YHC physicians (response rate of 27%) responded to the survey. Of the respondents, 52% was familiar with IM and 56% had used some kind of CAM therapy during the past 2 years, of which self-medicated herbal and/or homeopathic remedies (61%) and supplements (50%) were most frequently mentioned. Most of the YHC physicians (62%) seldom asked parents of clients about CAM use. One third of the YHC physicians recommended CAM to their clients. In general, about 50% or more of the respondents had little knowledge of CAM therapies. Predictors for a positive attitude towards IP were familiarity with IM, own CAM use, asking their clients about CAM use and practising one or more forms of CAM therapy. Logistic regression analysis showed that the following factors were associated with a higher recommendation to CAM therapies: own CAM use (odds ratio (OR) = 3.8; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.1-6.9, p = 0.001) and practising CAM (OR 4.4; 95% CI = 1.6-11.7, p = 0.003).
Conclusions
In general Dutch YHC physicians have a relative positive attitude towards IP; more than half of the respondents used one or more forms of CAM and one third recommended CAM therapies. However, the majority of YHC physicians did not ask their clients about CAM use and seemed to have a lack of knowledge regarding CAM.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-4
PMCID: PMC3293769  PMID: 22244450
National survey; Integrative Paediatrics; Attitudes; Youth Healthcare
21.  Public Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Riyadh Region, Saudi Arabia 
Oman Medical Journal  2012;27(1):20-26.
Objectives
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is well established worldwide. The present work is aimed at studying the knowledge, attitude and practice of CAM by the people of Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia.
Methods
A cross-sectional descriptive household survey study of the people living in Riyadh city, as well as the surrounding governorates. A multistage random sample was taken from 1st January to the end of March 2010, with a total number of 518 participants. Data were collected using a pre-designed questionnaire through direct interview. The data was collected based on socio-demography, as well as knowledge, attitude and practice of CAM.
Results
Participants were nearly sex-matched, consisting of approximately 70% Saudi and 30% non-Saudis. About 89% of the participants had some knowledge of CAM. Mass media e.g. (T.V., newspapers and radio) and family, relatives and friends represented the main sources of CAM knowledge, (46.5% and 46.3% respectively). Nearly 85% of participants or one of their family members has used some form of CAM before, and the most common users of CAM practices were females, housewives, and illiterate subjects (or those who could just read and write), as well as participants aged 60 years and above. Medical herbs (58.89%), prayer (54%), honey and bee products (54%), hijama (35.71%) and cauterization or medical massage therapy (22%) were the commonly used CAM practices. Most participants agreed that there are needs for; CAM practices (93.8%), regulations for CAM (94.9%), health education (96.6%), specialized centers (94.8%) and CAM clinics (92.7%). While only 8.3% of participants usually discussed CAM with their physicians.
Conclusion
There is a high prevalence and increased public interest in CAM use in the Riyadh region. There is a positive attitude towards CAM, yet most participants are reluctant to share and discuss CAM information with their physicians.
doi:10.5001/omj.2012.04
PMCID: PMC3282134  PMID: 22359720
Complementary; Alternative medicine; Medical herbs; Body massage; Natural products; Prophetic medicine; Attitude; Safety; Efficacy; Saudi Arabia
22.  Public health in community pharmacy: A systematic review of pharmacist and consumer views 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:582.
Background
The increasing involvement of pharmacists in public health will require changes in the behaviour of both pharmacists and the general public. A great deal of research has shown that attitudes and beliefs are important determinants of behaviour. This review aims to examine the beliefs and attitudes of pharmacists and consumers towards pharmaceutical public health in order to inform how best to support and improve this service.
Methods
Five electronic databases were searched for articles published in English between 2001 and 2010. Titles and abstracts were screened by one researcher according to the inclusion criteria. Papers were included if they assessed pharmacy staff or consumer attitudes towards pharmaceutical public health. Full papers identified for inclusion were assessed by a second researcher and data were extracted by one researcher.
Results
From the 5628 papers identified, 63 studies in 67 papers were included. Pharmacy staff: Most pharmacists viewed public health services as important and part of their role but secondary to medicine related roles. Pharmacists' confidence in providing public health services was on the whole average to low. Time was consistently identified as a barrier to providing public health services. Lack of an adequate counselling space, lack of demand and expectation of a negative reaction from customers were also reported by some pharmacists as barriers. A need for further training was identified in relation to a number of public health services. Consumers: Most pharmacy users had never been offered public health services by their pharmacist and did not expect to be offered. Consumers viewed pharmacists as appropriate providers of public health advice but had mixed views on the pharmacists' ability to do this. Satisfaction was found to be high in those that had experienced pharmaceutical public health
Conclusions
There has been little change in customer and pharmacist attitudes since reviews conducted nearly 10 years previously. In order to improve the public health services provided in community pharmacy, training must aim to increase pharmacists' confidence in providing these services. Confident, well trained pharmacists should be able to offer public health service more proactively which is likely to have a positive impact on customer attitudes and health.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-582
PMCID: PMC3146877  PMID: 21777456
23.  Factors affecting pharmacists’ recommendation of complementary medicines – a qualitative pilot study of Australian pharmacists 
Background
Complementary medicines (CMs) are widely used by the Australian public, and pharmacies are major suppliers of these medicines. The integration of CMs into pharmacy practice is well documented, but the behaviours of pharmacists in recommending CMs to customers are less well studied. This study reports on factors that influence whether or not pharmacists in Australia recommend CMs to their customers.
Methods
Data were collected from semi-structured interviews with twelve practicing pharmacists based in Brisbane, Australia. The qualitative data were analysed by thematic analysis.
Results
The primary driver of the recommendation of CMs was a desire to provide a health benefit to the customer. Other important drivers were an awareness of evidence of efficacy, customer feedback and pharmacy protocols to recommend a CM alongside a particular pharmaceutical medication. The primary barrier to the recommendation of CMs was safety concerns around patients on multiple medications or with complex health issues. Also, a lack of knowledge of CMs, a perceived lack of evidence or a lack of time to counsel patients were identified as barriers. There was a desire to see a greater integration of CM into formal pharmacy education. Additionally, the provision of good quality educational materials was seen as important to allow pharmacists to assess levels of evidence for CMs and educate them on their safe and appropriate use.
Conclusions
Pharmacists who frequently recommend CMs identify many potential benefits for patients and see it as an important part of providing a ‘healthcare solution’. To encourage the informed use of CMs in pharmacy there is a need for the development of accessible, quality resources on CMs. In addition, incorporation of CM education into pharmacy curricula would better prepare graduate pharmacists for community practice. Ultimately, such moves would contribute to the safe and effective use of CMs to the benefit of consumers.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-183
PMCID: PMC3511229  PMID: 23051066
Pharmacy and complementary medicine; Pharmacists’ attitude towards complementary medicine; Pharmacy practice; Companion selling; Qualitative study
24.  Use of complementary and alternative medicine by older adults – a cross-sectional survey 
BMC Geriatrics  2014;14:38.
Background
Very little is known about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by older adults in Germany. The aim of this study was to investigate the use of CAM and other health promoting substances (e.g., herbal teas) by older adults of at least 70 years of age.
Methods
A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted among persons of ≥70 years from metropolitan Berlin and rural parts of Brandenburg, Germany. Recorded were: demographics, current use of CAM, medical diagnoses, users’ opinions and preferences.
Results
A total of 400 older adults, living as ‘self-reliant’ (n = 154), ‘home care service user’ (n = 97), or ‘in nursing home’ (n = 149), and with the legal status ‘without guardian’ (n = 355) or ‘with guardian’ (n = 45) were included (mean age 81.8 ± 7.4 years, 78.5% female). Any type of CAM used 61.3% of respondents (dietary supplements 35.5%, herbal medicines 33.3%, and external preparations 26.8%); 3.0% used drug-interaction causing preparations. Usage was based on recommendations (total 30.3%; in 20.0% by friends or family and 10.4% by pharmacists), own initiative (27.3%), and doctors’ prescription (25.8%). Participants with legal guardian took almost solely prescribed dietary supplements. Of the others, only half (58.7%) informed their general practitioner (GP) of their CAM use. Participants expected significant (44.9%) or moderate (37.1%) improvement; half of them perceived a good effect (58.7%) and two-thirds (64.9%) generally preferred a combination of CAM and conventional medicine. More than half (57.9%) stated that they could neither assess whether their CAM preparations have side effects, nor assess what the side effects might be. Strongest predictors for CAM use were two treatment preferences (vs. ‘conventional only’: ‘CAM only’, OR = 3.98, p = 0.0042 and ‘CAM + conventional’, 3.02, 0.0028) and the type of health insurance (‘statutory’ vs. ‘private’, 3.57, 0.0356); against CAM use two subjective assessments predicted (vs. ‘CAM causes no harm’: ‘CAM causes harmful drug interactions’, 0.25, 0.0536 and ‘I cannot assess side effects’, 0.28, 0.0010).
Conclusion
Older German adults frequently use CAM. They perceived it as an effective complement to conventional medicine, but are not sufficiently informed about risks and benefits.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-14-38
PMCID: PMC3974184  PMID: 24669824
Older adults; CAM; Dietary supplements; Nursing home; Residential care; Legal guardian
25.  Enhancing provision of written medicine information in Australia: pharmacist, general practitioner and consumer perceptions of the barriers and facilitators 
Background
Written medicine information can play an important role in educating consumers about their medicines. In Australia, standardised, comprehensive written information known as Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) is available for all prescription medicines. CMI is reportedly under-utilised by general practitioners (GPs) and community pharmacists in consultations, despite consumer desire for medicine information. This study aimed to determine consumers’, GPs’ and community pharmacists’ preferences for CMI provision and identify barriers and facilitators to its use.
Method
Structured questionnaires were developed and administered to a national sample of Australian consumers (phone survey), community pharmacists and GPs (postal surveys) surrounding utilisation of CMI. Descriptive and comparative analyses were conducted.
Results
Half of consumers surveyed wanted to receive CMI for their prescription medicine, with spoken information preferable to written medicine information for many consumers and healthcare professionals. GPs and pharmacists remained a preferred source of medicine information for consumers, although package inserts were appealing to many among all three cohorts. Overall pharmacists were the preferred provider of CMI primarily due to their medicine expertise, accessibility and perceived availability. GPs preferred CMI dissemination through both the GP and pharmacist. Some consumers preferred GPs as the provider of medicines information because of their knowledge of the patients’ medicines and/or medical history, regularity of seeing the patient and good relationship with the patient. Common barriers to CMI provision cited included: time constraints, CMI length and perceptions that patients are not interested in receiving CMI. Facilitators to enhance provision included: strategies to increase consumer awareness, longer consultation times and counseling appointments, and improvements to pharmacy software technology and workflow.
Conclusion
Medicine information is important to consumers, whether as spoken, written or a combination of both. A tailored approach is needed to ascertain individual patient preference for delivery and scope of medicine information desired so that appropriate information is provided. The barriers of time and perceived attitudes of healthcare practitioners present challenges which may be overcome through changes to workplace practices, adoption of identified facilitators, and education about the positive benefits of CMI as a tool to engage and empower patients.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-183
PMCID: PMC4000453  PMID: 24754890
Written medicine information; Patient education; Information-sharing; Barriers; Facilitators; Community pharmacists; General practitioners

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