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1.  Diabetes patient management by pharmacists during Ramadan 
Background
Many Muslim diabetes patients choose to participate in Ramadan despite medical advice to the contrary. This study aims to describe Qatar pharmacists’ practice, knowledge, and attitudes towards guiding diabetes medication management during Ramadan.
Methods
A cross-sectional descriptive study was performed among a convenience sample of 580 Qatar pharmacists. A web-based questionnaire was systematically developed following comprehensive literature review and structured according to 4 main domains: subject demographics; diabetes patient care experiences; knowledge of appropriate patient care during Ramadan fasting; and attitudes towards potential pharmacist responsibilities in this regard.
Results
In the 3 months prior to Ramadan (July 2012), 178 (31%) pharmacists responded to the survey. Ambulatory (103, 58%) and inpatient practices (72, 41%) were similarly represented. One-third of pharmacists reported at least weekly interaction with diabetes patients during Ramadan. The most popular resources for management advice were the internet (94, 53%) and practice guidelines (80, 45%); however only 20% were aware of and had read the American Diabetes Association Ramadan consensus document. Pharmacist knowledge scores of appropriate care was overall fair (99, 57%). Pharmacists identified several barriers to participating in diabetes management including workload and lack of private counseling areas, but expressed attitudes consistent with a desire to assume greater roles in advising fasting diabetes patients.
Conclusion
Qatar pharmacists face several practical barriers to guiding diabetes patient self-management during Ramadan, but are motivated to assume a greater role in such care. Educational programs are necessary to improve pharmacist knowledge in the provision of accurate patient advice.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-117
PMCID: PMC3975299  PMID: 24606885
Diabetes; Patient care; Fasting; Ramadan; Pharmacist
2.  Drug-Related Hospital Visits and Admissions Associated with Laboratory or Physiologic Abnormalities—A Systematic-Review 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66803.
Countless studies have demonstrated that many emergency-room visits and hospital admissions are drug-related and that a significant proportion of these drug-related visits (DRVs) are preventable. It has not been previously studied which DRVs could be prevented through enhanced monitoring of therapy. The objective of the study was to determine the incidence of DRVs attributed to laboratory or physiologic abnormalities. Three authors independently performed comprehensive searches in relevant health care databases using pre-determined search terms. Articles discussing DRV associated with poisoning, substance abuse, or studied among existing in-patient populations were excluded. Study country, year, sample, design, duration, DRV identification method, proportion of DRVs associated with laboratory or physiologic abnormalities and associated medications were extracted. The three authors independently assessed selected relevant articles according to the Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology (STROBE) as applicable according to the studies' methodology. The initial literature search yielded a total of 1,524 articles of which 30 articles meeting inclusion criteria and reporting sufficient laboratory or physiologic data were included in the overall analysis. Half employed prospective methodologies, which included both chart review and patient interview; however, the overwhelming majority of identified studies assessed only adverse drug reactions (ADRs) as a drug-related cause for DRV. The mean (range) prevalence of DRVs found in all studies was 15.4% (0.44%–66.7%) of which an association with laboratory or physiologic abnormalities could be attributed to a mean (range) of 29.4% (4.3%–78.1%) of cases. Most laboratory-associated DRVs could be linked to immunosuppressant, antineoplastic, anticoagulant and diabetes therapy, while physiologic-associated DRVs were attributed to cardiovascular therapies and NSAIDs. Significant proportions of laboratory and physiologic abnormalities contribute to DRVs and are consistently linked to specific drugs. These therapies are potential targets for enhanced medication monitoring initiatives to proactively avert potential DRVs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066803
PMCID: PMC3694970  PMID: 23826139
3.  Using daily newspapers to develop professional literacy – a descriptive study 
Background
An orientation to the professional landscape is necessary for novices of any health discipline. We describe an assignment aimed to develop the professional literacy of pharmacy students within their local Middle Eastern context.
Methods
“Pharmacy and Health Care” is a course designed to introduce first-year students to both historic and contemporary pharmacist roles and responsibilities and to the position of pharmacy within a health care system. An assignment asked students to identify a health-related article recently reported by one of the domestic newspapers in order to exhibit the students’ ability to conceptualize how pharmacists fit into the described health context.
Results
The exercise was assigned over three consecutive academic years. A majority of the students (36/60; 60%) chose articles reported in one of the three English-language dailies; stories were primarily characterized as Qatar health-related current events or news items (44/60; 73%). The pharmacy students felt the assignment encouraged reading and an appreciation of current pharmacist roles and future opportunities in Qatar health care.
Conclusion
A newspaper assignment designed to develop professional literacy would be of benefit in early training years in health care professional degree programs elsewhere in the world; the result would orient students to expected positions in local health care settings and would help envision role expansion.
doi:10.2147/AMEP.S43832
PMCID: PMC3726648  PMID: 23901307
pharmacy; health professional education; newspaper
4.  Physician perceptions of pharmacist roles in a primary care setting in Qatar 
Purpose
Pharmacists are uniquely trained to provide guidance to patients in the selection of appropriate non-prescription therapy. Physicians in Qatar may not always recognize how pharmacists function in assuring safe medication use. Both these health professional groups come from heterogeneous training and experiences before migrating to the country and these backgrounds could influence collaborative patient care. Qatar Petroleum (QP), the largest private employer in the country, has developed a pharmacist-guided medication consulting service at their primary care clinics, but physician comfort with pharmacists recommending drug therapy is currently unknown. The objective of this study is to characterize physician perceptions of pharmacists and their roles in a primary care patient setting in Qatar.
Methods
This cross-sectional survey was developed following a comprehensive literature review and administered in English and Arabic. Consenting QP physicians were asked questions to assess experiences, comfort and expectations of pharmacist roles and abilities to provide medication-related advice and recommend and monitor therapies.
Results
The median age of the 62 (77.5%) physicians who responded was between 40 and 50 years old and almost two-third were men (64.5%). Fourteen different nationalities were represented. Physicians were more comfortable with pharmacist activities closely linked to drug products than responsibilities associated with monitoring and optimization of patient outcomes. Medication education (96.6%) and drug knowledge (90%) were practically unanimously recognized as abilities expected of pharmacists, but consultative roles, such as assisting in drug regimen design were less acknowledged. They proposed pharmacist spend more time with physicians attending joint meetings or education events to help advance acceptance of pharmacists in patient-centered care at this site.
Conclusions
Physicians had low comfort and expectations of patient-oriented pharmacist roles but were not threatened to learn more about these capabilities or explore enhanced collaboration in patient care.
doi:10.1186/1744-8603-8-12
PMCID: PMC3475112  PMID: 22650614
Physician; Perceptions; Pharmacists; Qatar
5.  Evaluation of the Research Grant Program of the Foundation of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, 1995–2008 
Background:
Pharmacist-led research has grown substantially over the past 10 to 15 years. The Research Grant Program of the Research and Education Foundation of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP Foundation), initiated in 1992, is the only funding opportunity available specifically to members of the Society.
Objective:
To evaluate the status of research projects funded by the Research Grant Program of the CSHP Foundation, to examine the outcomes of these projects, and to determine the opinions of grant recipients regarding this competition.
Methods:
An e-mail survey was sent to each of the 34 hospital pharmacist researchers who received funding from the Research Grant Program of the CSHP Foundation during the period 1995 to 2008. Survey questions sought to evaluate scholarly outcomes (i.e., publications and presentations) from funded projects. The opinions of grant recipients about the value of the program were also solicited.
Results:
One of the potential respondents had returned the grant money and was ineligible for the survey. Of the 33 potential respondents, 30 (91%) responded to the survey. Overall, 24 of the projects had been completed at the time of the survey, and 19 of these had been published, resulting in a total of 26 manuscripts. Abstracts had been presented for 21 of the projects. In total, 49 abstracts had been presented at national (22), international (13), provincial (7) and local (7) conferences. The median award was $5000 (interquartile range $5000 to $7500). Eleven of the projects had received additional funding, primarily from the recipient’s hospital or health authority or from university sources. The survey respondents indicated that the grant from the CSHP Foundation had been critical to completion of their projects and had been of assistance in securing additional funding, when such funding was necessary. Respondents felt that dedicated research funding for hospital pharmacists in Canada should continue.
Conclusions:
The Research Grant Program of the CSHP Foundation has been important to hospital pharmacists, enabling a variety of research projects to be initiated and completed. The high rate of project completion and the large number of publications and presentations resulting from this work speak to both the quality of the work and the dedication of the research teams. The CSHP Foundation should continue to fund this competition and should explore a more robust model, with larger awards and more funded projects each year.
PMCID: PMC3242572  PMID: 22479094
hospital pharmacy; research; funding; grants; survey; pharmacie d’hôpital; recherche; financement; bourses; sondage
7.  Patient perceptions of pharmacist roles in guiding self-medication of over-the-counter therapy in Qatar 
Background:
Self-care, including self-medication with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, facilitates the public’s increased willingness to assume greater responsibility for their own health. Direct consultation with pharmacists provides efficient professional guidance for safe and appropriate OTC use.
Objective:
The purpose of this study was to characterize patient perceptions of pharmacists and use of nonprescription therapy in an ambulatory care population in Qatar.
Methods:
Patients having prescriptions filled at one organization’s private medical clinics during two distinct two-week periods were invited to participate in a short verbal questionnaire. Awareness of pharmacist roles in guiding OTC drug selection was assessed, as were patient preferences for OTC indications. Attitudes towards pharmacist and nurse drug knowledge and comfort with direct dispensing were also evaluated.
Results:
Five hundred seventy patients participated representing 29 countries. Most respondents were men (92.1%) with mean age of 38.3 years. Almost 1 in 7 did not know medical complaints could be assessed by a pharmacist (15.3%) and 1 in 5 (21.9%) were unaware pharmacists could directly supply OTC therapy. The majority (85.3%) would be interested in this service. In general, respondents were more comfortable with medication and related advice supplied by pharmacists as opposed to nursing professionals.
Conclusion:
Patients were familiar with the roles of pharmacists as they pertain to self-medication with OTC therapy and described the desire to use such a service within this Qatar ambulatory health care setting.
PMCID: PMC2875718  PMID: 20517469
patient; self-medication; over-the-counter; pharmacist; Qatar
8.  Pharmacy Education and Practice in 13 Middle Eastern Countries 
The Arab world has influenced the art and science of pharmacy for centuries. Pharmacy education and practice is continuing to evolve in the Arabic-speaking traditional Middle East countries, although relatively little information has been published in the English press. Our goal was to provide a high-level synopsis of conditions in this region.
We selected 13 countries for review. Information was obtained by reviewing the available published literature and individual university and program web sites, as well as contacting program or country representatives. Seventy-eight active pharmacy schools in 12 countries were identified. At least 14,000 students (over 75% from Egypt) are admitted into baccalaureate degree programs every year. The 5-year baccalaureate degree remains the first professional degree to practice.
While changes in pharmacy education have been relatively rapid over the past decade, the advancement of pharmacy practice, particularly in the private sector, appears to be slower. Hospital pharmacists often possess an advanced degree and tend to have a higher level of practice compared to that of community pharmacists. Despite the adversities that face academics and practitioners alike, there is a strong desire to advance the science and practice of pharmacy in the Middle East.
PMCID: PMC2661169  PMID: 19325953
pharmacy education; Middle East
9.  Incidence, severity and preventability of medication-related visits to the emergency department: a prospective study 
Background
Medication-related visits to the emergency department are an important but poorly understood phenomenon. We sought to evaluate the frequency, severity and preventability of drug-related visits to the emergency department.
Methods
We performed a prospective observational study of randomly selected adults presenting to the emergency department over a 12-week period. Emergency department visits were identified as drug-related on the basis of assessment by a pharmacist research assistant and an emergency physician; discrepancies were adjudicated by 2 independent reviewers.
Results
Among the 1017 patients included in the study, the emergency department visit was identified as drug-related for 122 patients (12.0%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 10.1%–14.2%); of these, 83 visits (68.0%, 95% CI 59.0%–76.2%) were deemed preventable. Severity was classified as mild in 15.6% of the 122 cases, moderate in 74.6% and severe in 9.8%. The most common reasons for drug-related visits were adverse drug reactions (39.3%), nonadherence (27.9%) and use of the wrong or suboptimal drug (11.5%). The probability of admission was significantly higher among patients who had a drug-related visit than among those whose visit was not drug-related (OR 2.18, 95% CI 1.46–3.27, p < 0.001), and among those admitted, the median length of stay was longer (8.0 [interquartile range 23.5] v. 5.5 [interquartile range 10.0] days, p = 0.06).
Interpretation
More than 1 in 9 emergency department visits are due to drug-related adverse events, a potentially preventable problem in our health care system.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.071594
PMCID: PMC2396352  PMID: 18519904
10.  An assessment of quality of sleep and the use of drugs with sedating properties in hospitalized adult patients 
Background
Hospitalization can significantly disrupt sleeping patterns. In consideration of the previous reports of insomnia and apparent widespread use of benzodiazepines and other hypnotics in hospitalized patients, we conducted a study to assess quality of sleep and hypnotic drug use in our acute care adult patient population. The primary objectives of this study were to assess sleep disturbance and its determinants including the use of drugs with sedating properties.
Methods
This single-centre prospective study involved an assessment of sleep quality for consenting patients admitted to the general medicine and family practice units of an acute care Canadian hospital. A validated Verran and Snyder-Halpern (VSH) Sleep Scale measuring sleep disturbance, sleep effectiveness, and sleep supplementation was completed daily by patients and scores were compared to population statistics. Patients were also asked to identify factors influencing sleep while in hospital, and sedating drug use prior to and during hospitalization was also assessed.
Results
During the 70-day study period, 100 patients completed at least one sleep questionnaire. There was a relatively even distribution of males versus females, most patients were in their 8th decade of life, retired, and suffered from multiple chronic diseases. The median self-reported pre-admission sleep duration for participants was 8 hours and our review of PharmaNetR profiles revealed that 35 (35%) patients had received a dispensed prescription for a hypnotic or antidepressant drug in the 3-month period prior to admission. Benzodiazepines were the most common sedating drugs prescribed. Over 300 sleep disturbance, effective and supplementation scores were completed. Sleep disturbance scores across all study days ranged 16–681, sleep effectiveness scores ranged 54–402, while sleep supplementation scores ranged between 0–358. Patients tended to have worse sleep scores as compared to healthy non-hospitalized US adults in all three scales. When compared to US non-hospitalized adults with insomnia, our patients demonstrated sleep disturbance and supplementation scores that were similar on Day 1, but lower (i.e. improved) on Day 3, while sleep effectiveness were higher (i.e. better) on both days. There was an association between sleep disturbance scores and the number of chronic diseases, the presence of pain, the use of bedtime tricyclic antidepressants, and the number of chronic diseases without pain. There was also an association between sleep effectiveness scores and the length of hospitalization, the in hospital use of bedtime sedatives and the presence of pain. Finally, an association was identified between sleep supplementation scores and the in hospital use of bedtime sedatives (tricyclic antidepressants and loxapine), and age. Twenty-nine (29%) patients received a prescription for a hypnotic drug while in hospital, with no evidence of pre-admission hypnotic use. The majority of these patients were prescribed zopiclone, lorazepam or another benzodiazepine.
Conclusions
The results of this study reveal that quality of sleep is a problem that affects hospitalized adult medical service patients and a relatively high percentage of these patients are being prescribed a hypnotic prior to and during hospitalization.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-2-17
PMCID: PMC521202  PMID: 15040803

Results 1-10 (10)