Patient perceptions of pharmacist roles in guiding self-medication of over-the-counter therapy in Qatar
Kerry Wilbur1, Samah El Salam1, Ebrahim Mohammadi2
1Qatar University College of Pharmacy, Doha, Qatar; 2Qatar Petroleum Medical Services, Doha, 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 selfmedication with OTC therapy and described the desire to use such a service within this Qatar ambulatory health care setting.
Keywords: patient, self-medication, over-the-counter, pharmacist, Qatar
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