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Community pharmacists’ knowledge of COPD, and practices and perceptions of medication counseling of COPD patients

Authors Heikkilä JM, Parkkamäki S, Salimäki J, Westermarck S, Pohjanoksa-Mäntylä M

Received 13 December 2017

Accepted for publication 27 March 2018

Published 3 July 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 2065—2074

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S159726

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Juha Markus Heikkilä,1,2 Stina Parkkamäki,3 Johanna Salimäki,4 Sari Westermarck,5 Marika Pohjanoksa-Mäntylä1

1Faculty of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; 2Hartola Pharmacy, Hartola, Finland; 3Hyvinkää Willan Kehrä Pharmacy, Hyvinkää, Finland; 4The Association of Finnish Pharmacies, Helsinki, Finland; 5Tammela Pharmacy, Tammela, Finland

Background and purpose: COPD is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Although medication counseling interventions by pharmacists have been found to support the management of COPD, little is known about pharmacists’ knowledge concerning COPD and regular practices and perceptions concerning medication counseling of COPD patients. The purpose of this study was to research these topics among Finnish community pharmacists.
Materials and methods: In January 2017, an electronic survey was e-mailed to Finnish community pharmacies (n=741) via the Association of the Finnish Pharmacies. One pharmacist from each pharmacy, preferably a specialist in asthma, was invited to answer the survey.
Results: Completed responses were received from 263 pharmacists (response rate =35%), of whom 196 pharmacists were specialists in asthma. Response rate among asthma pharmacists was 42%. Pharmacists were positive about their role in medication counseling and in support of the self-management of COPD patients. COPD-related knowledge was self-assessed as being good and was on a good level in respect of basic facts. However, almost half (46%) of the pharmacists did not know that COPD is considered a national public health issue, and ~50% of the pharmacists were not familiar with the current care guideline on COPD. Medication counseling was found to be more medicinal product-driven and less advisory concerning lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and physical exercise.
Conclusion: Although the pharmacists’ knowledge of COPD was good on general topics, there were some gaps in their knowledge on the current care guideline and status of the disease. Pharmacists should more systematically individually target medication counseling according to patients’ needs. In addition, lifestyle treatments, including smoking cessation and physical exercise, should be part of the medication counseling.

Keywords: pulmonary disease, medication counseling, pharmacists, clinical practice guideline, knowledge

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