Community pharmacist practices, attitudes, recommendations, information and education needs for herbal and nutrient complementary medicines for weight loss

Meng Wong Taing, Eunice Tze Xin Tan, Gail M Williams, Alexandra M Clavarino, Treasure M McGuire

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Abstract

Introduction
Over half the Australian population use some form of alternative or complementary medicine, spending more than $2 billion dollars annually. Herbal/nutrient complementary medicines for weight loss (WLCM) are popular among consumers, with pharmacies being a major retail outlet for these products. To date, there are no Australian studies exploring community pharmacists’ attitudes and practices regarding WLCMs sold in pharmacies.

Aims

To investigate pharmacists’ WLCM practices in the context of other pharmacist weight-management support practices (provision of lifestyle advice, orlistat and meal-replacement treatments); and gain insight into community pharmacist attitudes, recommendations, information and education needs.

Methods
Pharmacists were randomly selected from a sample of 214 community pharmacies located within different socioeconomic areas in the Greater Brisbane region, Australia. Pharmacists completed a survey exploring their weight-management practices, with a specific focus on WLCM practices. Items within the questionnaire were adapted from previously published surveys or developed by the authors. Data collected from the sample group represented pharmacist practices within the Greater Brisbane metropolitan region.

Results
The response rate was 51%. During weight-management consultations, a relatively high proportion of consumers (37%) sought pharmacist advice relating to WLCM compared to other weight-management practices. Only 10% of pharmacists however recommended them. The resources that most pharmacists reported using provide insufficient WLCM information and may not be evidence-based. The majority of community pharmacists (85%) were interested in further education about WLCMs.

Discussion
Results from this study highlight the need for pharmacy professional bodies to develop education programmes for pharmacists that are evidence-based to assist consumers with popular and widely available WLCM products.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e36
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016
EventAPSA-ASCEPT Joint Scientific Meeting 2015: Drugs to medicines: up close and personal - Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Australia
Duration: 29 Nov 20152 Dec 2015
http://www.asceptasm.com/2015-annual-scientific-meeting/program-2015/

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