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1.  Using scenarios to test the appropriateness of pharmacist prescribing in asthma management 
Pharmacy Practice  2014;12(1):390.
To explore the potential for community pharmacist prescribing in terms of usefulness, pharmacists’ confidence, and appropriateness, in the context of asthma management.
Twenty community pharmacists were recruited using convenience sampling from a group of trained practitioners who had already delivered asthma services. These pharmacists were asked to complete a scenario-based questionnaire (9 scenarios) modelled on information from real patients. Pharmacist interventions were independently reviewed and rated on their appropriateness according to the Respiratory Therapeutic Guidelines (TG) by three expert researchers.
In seven of nine scenarios (78%), the most common prescribing intervention made by pharmacists agreed with TG recommendations. Although the prescribing intervention was appropriate in the majority of cases, the execution of such interventions was not in line with guidelines (i.e. dosage or frequency) in the majority of scenarios. Due to this, only 47% (76/162) of the interventions overall were considered appropriate. However, pharmacists were deemed to be often following common clinical practice for asthma prescribing. Therefore 81% (132/162) of prescribing interventions were consistent with clinical practice, which is often not guideline driven, indicating a need for specific training in prescribing according to guidelines. Pharmacists reported that they were confident in making prescribing interventions and that this would be very useful in their management of the patients in the scenarios.
Community pharmacists may be able to prescribe asthma medications appropriately to help achieve good outcomes for their patients. However, further training in the guidelines for prescribing are required if pharmacists are to support asthma management in this way.
PMCID: PMC3955869  PMID: 24644524
Asthma; Drug Prescriptions; Community Pharmacy Services; Professional Practice; Professional Role; Patient Simulation; Australia
2.  The role of community pharmacists in screening and subsequent management of chronic respiratory diseases: a systematic review 
Pharmacy Practice  2013;11(4):228-245.
The purpose of this review was to evaluate the role of community pharmacists in provision of screening with/without subsequent management of undiagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and uncontrolled asthma.
An extensive literature search using four databases (ie. Medline, PubMed, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (IPA) and Scopus) with search terms pharmacy, screening, asthma or COPD was conducted. Searches were limited to the years 2003-2013, those in English and those reporting research with humans. Data retrieval, analysis and result presentation employed a scoping review method.
Seventeen articles met the inclusion/exclusion criteria, of which fifteen studies were based on people with asthma and two were based on people with COPD. Only seven asthma studies and one COPD study involved screening followed by subsequent management. More than half of the people screened were found to be poorly controlled and up to 62% of people were identified at high risk for COPD by community pharmacists. The studies varied in the method and type of asthma control assessment/screening, the type of intervention provided and the outcomes measured. The limitations of the reviewed studies included varying definitions of asthma control, different study methodologies, and the lack of long-term follow-up. While many different methods were used for risk assessment and management services by the pharmacists, all the studies demonstrated that community pharmacists were capable of identifying people with poorly controlled asthma and undiagnosed COPD and providing them with suitable interventions.
The literature review identified that community pharmacists can play an effective role in screening of people with poorly controlled asthma and undiagnosed COPD along with delivering management interventions. However, there is very little literature available on screening for these chronic respiratory conditions. Future research should focus on development of patient care delivery model incorporating a screening protocol followed by targeted management interventions delivered by the community pharmacist.
PMCID: PMC3869639  PMID: 24367463
Mass Screening; Lung Diseases, Obstructive; Outcome Assessment (Health Care); Community Pharmacy Services; Professional Practice; Professional Role
3.  Asthmatic airway smooth muscle CXCL10 production: mitogen-activated protein kinase JNK involvement 
CXCL10 (IP10) is involved in mast cell migration to airway smooth muscle (ASM) bundles in asthma. We aimed to investigate the role of cytokine-induced MAPK activation in CXCL10 production by ASM cells from people with and without asthma. Confluent growth-arrested ASM cells were treated with inhibitors of the MAPKs ERK, p38, and JNK and transcription factor NF-κB, or vehicle, and stimulated with IL-1β, TNF-α, or IFN-γ, alone or combined (cytomix). CXCL10 mRNA and protein, JNK, NF-κB p65 phosphorylation, and Iκ-Bα protein degradation were assessed using real-time PCR, ELISA, and immunoblotting, respectively. Cytomix, IL-1β, and TNF-α induced CXCL10 mRNA expression more rapidly in asthmatic than nonasthmatic ASM cells. IL-1β and/or TNF-α combined with IFN-γ synergistically increased asthmatic ASM cell CXCL10 release. Inhibitor effects were similar in asthmatic and nonasthmatic cells, but cytomix-induced release was least affected, with only JNK and NF-κB inhibitors halving it. Notably, JNK phosphorylation was markedly less in asthmatic compared with nonasthmatic cells. However, in both, the JNK inhibitor SP600125 reduced JNK phosphorylation and CXCL10 mRNA levels but did not affect CXCL10 mRNA stability or Iκ-Bα degradation. Together, the JNK and NF-κB inhibitors completely inhibited their CXCL10 release. We concluded that, in asthmatic compared with nonasthmatic ASM cells, JNK activation was reduced and CXCL10 gene expression was more rapid following cytomix stimulation. However, in both, JNK activation did not regulate early events leading to NF-κB activation. Thus JNK and NF-κB provide independent therapeutic targets for limiting CXCL10 production and mast cell migration to the ASM in asthma.
PMCID: PMC3362261  PMID: 22387292
IFN-inducible protein 10; mRNA levels and stability; NK-κB; p38; ERK
4.  Thiazolidinediones inhibit airway smooth muscle release of the chemokine CXCL10: in vitro comparison with current asthma therapies 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):90.
Activated mast cells are present within airway smooth muscle (ASM) bundles in eosinophilic asthma. ASM production of the chemokine CXCL10 plays a role in their recruitment. Thus the effects of glucocorticoids (fluticasone, budesonide), long-acting β2-agonists (salmeterol, formoterol) and thiazolidinediones (ciglitazone, rosiglitazone) on CXCL10 production by ASM cells (ASMC) from people with and without asthma were investigated in vitro.
Confluent serum-deprived cells were treated with the agents before and during cytokine stimulation for 0-24 h. CXCL10 protein/mRNA, IκB-α levels and p65 activity were measured using ELISA, RT PCR, immunoblotting and p65 activity assays respectively. Data were analysed using ANOVA followed by Fisher’s post-hoc test.
Fluticasone and/or salmeterol at 1 and 100 nM inhibited CXCL10 release induced by IL-1β and TNF-α, but not IFNγ or all three cytokines (cytomix). The latter was also not affected by budesonide and formoterol. In asthmatic ASMC low salmeterol, but not formoterol, concentrations increased cytomix-induced CXCL10 release and at 0.01 nM enhanced NF-κB activity. Salmeterol 0.1nM together with fluticasone 0.1 and 10 nM still increased CXCL10 release. The thiazolidinediones ciglitazone and rosiglitazone (at 25 and 100 μM) inhibited cytomix-induced CXCL10 release but these inhibitory effects were not prevented by the PPAR-g antagonist GW9662. Ciglitazone did not affect early NF-κB activity and CXCL10 mRNA production.
Thus the thiazolidinediones inhibited asthmatic ASMC CXCL10 release under conditions when common asthma therapies were ineffective or enhanced it. They may provide an alternative strategy to reduce mast cell-ASM interactions and restore normal airway physiology in asthma.
PMCID: PMC3503570  PMID: 23034049
Mast cell chemoattractant; Glucocorticoids; Long-acting β2-agonists; Salmeterol; Fluticasone; Ciglitazone; Rosiglitazone
5.  Experiences of community pharmacists involved in the delivery of a specialist asthma service in Australia 
The role of community pharmacists in disease state management has been mooted for some years. Despite a number of trials of disease state management services, there is scant literature into the engagement of, and with, pharmacists in such trials. This paper reports pharmacists’ feedback as providers of a Pharmacy Asthma Management Service (PAMS), a trial coordinated across four academic research centres in Australia in 2009. We also propose recommendations for optimal involvement of pharmacists in academic research.
Feedback about the pharmacists’ experiences was sought via their participation in either a focus group or telephone interview (for those unable to attend their scheduled focus group) at one of three time points. A semi-structured interview guide focused discussion on the pharmacists’ training to provide the asthma service, their interactions with health professionals and patients as per the service protocol, and the future for this type of service. Focus groups were facilitated by two researchers, and the individual interviews were shared between three researchers, with data transcribed verbatim and analysed manually.
Of 93 pharmacists who provided the PAMS, 25 were involved in a focus group and seven via telephone interview. All pharmacists approached agreed to provide feedback. In general, the pharmacists engaged with both the service and research components, and embraced their roles as innovators in the trial of a new service. Some experienced challenges in the recruitment of patients into the service and the amount of research-related documentation, and collaborative patient-centred relationships with GPs require further attention. Specific service components, such as the spirometry, were well received by the pharmacists and their patients. Professional rewards included satisfaction from their enhanced practice, and pharmacists largely envisaged a future for the service.
The PAMS provided pharmacists an opportunity to become involved in an innovative service delivery model, supported by the researchers, yet trained and empowered to implement the clinical service throughout the trial period and beyond. The balance between support and independence appeared crucial in the pharmacists’ engagement with the trial. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive, while useful suggestions were identified for future academic trials.
PMCID: PMC3439711  PMID: 22709371
Pharmacy; Asthma; Disease management service; Experiences; Feedback
6.  Long-Term Maintenance of Pharmacists' Inhaler Technique Demonstration Skills 
To assess the effectiveness of a single educational intervention, followed by patient education training, in pharmacists retaining their inhaler technique skills.
A convenience sample of 31 pharmacists attended an educational workshop and their inhaler techniques were assessed. Those randomly assigned to the active group were trained to assess and teach correct Turbuhaler and Diskus inhaler techniques to patients and provided with patient education tools to use in their pharmacies during a 6-month study. Control pharmacists delivered standard care. All pharmacists were reassessed 2 years after initial training.
Thirty-one pharmacists participated in the study. At the initial assessment, few pharmacists demonstrated correct technique (Turbuhaler:13%, Diskus:6%). All pharmacists in the active group demonstrated correct technique following training. Two years later, pharmacists in the active group demonstrated significantly better inhaler technique than pharmacists in the control group (p < 0.05) for Turbuhaler and Diskus (83% vs.11%; 75% vs.11%, respectively).
Providing community pharmacists with effective patient education tools and encouraging their involvement in educating patients may contribute to pharmacists maintaining their competence in correct inhaler technique long-term.
PMCID: PMC2690903  PMID: 19513170
community pharmacists; dry powder inhalers; asthma; education

Results 1-6 (6)