Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Pharmacy Practice (Granada)]]> vol. 18 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Is my paper relevant for an international audience?]]> Abstract This is the first question one should consider before submitting a paper to an international journal. The answer is simple: If researchers or practitioners from another country can learn something from your paper that can influence a practice or a research they are involved in, then your paper is relevant for an international audience. There are many elements that can influence in this cross-border transferability. One could think that having a big “n”, or performing complex statistical calculations, or using complicated study designs makes the paper more attractive to colleagues from other countries. These elements can help, but they are not sufficient. On the other hand, one could think that a study performed in a small hospital in a given country will never be of interest for these foreign colleagues. That is not necessarily correct. Let's burst some myths. <![CDATA[Patient experience with clinical pharmacist services in Travis County Federally Qualified Health Centers]]> Abstract Background: Positive patient experiences with care have been linked to improved health outcomes. Patient experience surveys can provide feedback about the level of patient-centered care provided by clinical pharmacists and information about how to improve services. Objectives: Study objectives are: 1) To describe patient experience with clinical pharmacist services in a federally qualified health center (FQHC). 2) To determine if demographic or health-related factors were associated with patient experience. Methods: This cross-sectional survey included adult patients who were English or Spanish speaking, and completed a clinical pharmacist visit in March or April 2018. Patient experience was evaluated, on a 5-point Likert scale (1 =strongly disagree to 5 =strongly agree), with 10 items using four domains: pharmacist-patient interaction information provision, support for self-care, and involvement in decision making. In addition, one item was used to rate the overall experience. Demographic and health-related variables were also collected. Eligible patients completed the survey after their clinical pharmacist visit. Descriptive and inferential statistics, as well as Cronbach's alpha for scale reliability, were employed. Results: Respondents (N=99) were 55.4 (SD=12.1) years and 53.1% were women. Overall, patients rated their experiences very high with the 10-item scale score of 4.8 (SD=0.4) out of 5 points and the overall experience rating of 4.9 (SD=0.4) out of 5 points. With the exception of race, there were no differences between patient experience and demographic and health-related variables. African Americans had significantly (p=0.0466) higher patient experience scores compared to Hispanics. Conclusions: Patients receiving care in a FQHC highly rated their experience with clinical pharmacists. This indicates that clinical pharmacists provided a high level of patient-centered care to a diverse group. <![CDATA[Inpatient self-administered medication under the supervision of a multidisciplinary team: a randomized, controlled, blinded parallel trial]]> Abstract Background: Self-administered medication (SAM) is encouraged in many hospitals worldwide as it increases patients' knowledge and understanding of their medication, but the effects on other outcomes, e.g. compliance or medication errors, were unclear. Objectives: To compare medication knowledge, adherence, medication errors, and hospital readmission among inpatients receiving SAM education under the supervision of a multidisciplinary team (study group) with those receiving routine nurse-administered medication (control group). Methods: This study was a PROBE design. Inpatients with chronic diseases were randomly allocated (1:1) to either the study group or the control group using stratified-block randomization. Knowledge of medications was measured at hospital discharge and at the first two follow-up visits; adherence was measured at the first two follow-up visits, medication errors while in hospital, and hospital readmission within 60 days after discharge. For normally distributed continuous outcomes, mean difference and 95%CI were estimated; otherwise the median and the Mann-Whitney test p-value were reported. The percentage difference and 95%CI were reported for binary outcomes. Results: 70 patients were randomized (35 in each group); all received complete follow-up. Both groups were similar at baseline. Mean (SD) age (years) were 59.2 (11.0) for the study group and 58.3 (12.0) for the control group. Percentages of females in the respective groups were 54.3 and 60.0. Mean time from discharge to the first follow-up visit was two weeks in both groups and time to the second follow-up visit were 68.8 days (study group) and 55.0 days (control group). The study group had significantly higher medication knowledge than the control group at hospital discharge (of the 10-point scale, medians, 8.56 and 6.18, respectively, p&lt;0.001). The corresponding figures were similar in both groups at the first follow-up visit (medians, 8.25 and 6.26, respectively, p&lt;0.001). Adherence to medication at the first visit in the study group (percentage mean 92.50% (SD=5.33%)) was significantly higher than that in the control group (79.60% (SD=5.96%)), percentage mean difference 12.90%, [95%CI 10.20%:15.60%], p&lt;0.001. Medication knowledge and adherence were sustained at the second follow-up visit. During hospitalization, no medication errors were found in the study group, and minimal errors occurred in the control group (1.48%, [95%CI 0.68%:2.28%] of doses administered, p=0.001). Hospital readmission within 60 days after discharge was significantly lower in the study group (11.4%) than that in the control group (31.4%), percentage difference 20.0% (95%CI 1.4%:38.6%), 1-side Fisher exact p=0.039. Conclusions: Among in-patients with chronic diseases, SAM program significantly increased knowledge of and adherence to prescribed medications. Medication errors regarding administration errors were infrequent but significantly higher in the control group. SAM reduced hospital readmission within 60 after ischarge. <![CDATA[Training upcoming academicians through interviews of pharmacy resident teaching certificate leaders]]> Abstract Background: Discovering methods of Residency Teaching Certificate Programs (RTCPs) will allow for collaboration in developing best practices to ensure both high quality of programming and outcomes for participants. Objective: The primary objective of this project is to describe and compare how RTCPs are conducted in the state of Ohio. Secondarily, to identify current practices in assessing RTCPs in both programmatic effectiveness and individual resident teaching outcomes. Methods: The seven coordinators of the seven Ohio RTCPs (n=7) were contacted via email and asked to participate in an IRB-approved interview, either in-person or telephonically. Standardized questions were developed to inquire about six categories of interest: demographics/background, administration/logistics, content, assessment of the resident, program financing, and program continuous quality improvement (CQI). All seven programs participated in interviews. Data was coded by multiple members of the research team for presentation in aggregate form. Results: RTCPs include seminar days at the respective pharmacy colleges; however, the number, length, and content of seminars vary. The majority of programs (n=5) stated using inherited curriculum and materials passed down from previous coordinators. While each RTCP requires participants to submit a teaching portfolio, only three of seven programs assess the summative portfolios. All programs (n=7) award participants a certificate based on completion of requirements without a defined minimum performance standard. Two programs are collecting participant feedback after every session for CQI however no programs are completing an annual programmatic assessment of resident outcomes. The majority of coordinators (n=7) are interested in collaborating and sharing “best practices” between RTCPs in the state. Conclusions: Although published and available resources exist surrounding the development and delivery of RTCPs, in Ohio, their use varies greatly. The most striking outcomes highlighted the lack of resident and program assessment of outcomes in RTCPs. The research has brought forth ideas of ways to improve these programs through resident assessment, program assessment and also leads to reflection and innovation around the best way to deliver these programs. <![CDATA[FDA collaboration to improve safe use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics: an <em>ex post facto</em>matched control study of targeted short-form messaging and online education served to high prescribers]]> Abstract Objective: This ex post factomatched control study was conducted to evaluate the effect of targeted short-form messages or continuing medical education (CME) on fluoroquinolone prescribing among high prescribers. Methods: A total of 11,774 Medscape healthcare provider (HCP) members prescribing high volumes of fluoroquinolones were randomized into three segments to receive one of three unique targeted short-form messages, each delivered via email, web alerts, and mobile alerts. Some HCPs receiving targeted short-form messages also participated in CME on fluoroquinolone prescribing. A fourth segment of HCPs participated in CME only. Test HCPs were matched to third-party-provider prescriber data to identify control HCPs. We used prescriber data to determine new prescription volume; percentage (%) of HCPs with reduced prescribing; new prescription volume for acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS), uncomplicated urinary tract infection (uUTI), and acute bacterial exacerbations of chronic bronchitis in those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (ABECB-COPD). Open rates for emailed targeted short-form messages were also measured. Results: Targeted short-form messages and CME each resulted in significant new prescription volume reduction versus control. Combining targeted short-form messages with CME yielded the greatest percentage of test HCPs with reduced prescribing (80.1%) versus controls (76.2%; p&lt;0.0001). New prescription volume decreased significantly for uUTI and ABS following exposure to targeted short-form messages, CME, or both. Targeted short-form messages containing comparative prescribing information with or without clinical context were opened at slightly higher rates (10.8% and 10.6%, respectively) than targeted short-form messages containing clinical context alone (9.1%). Conclusions: Targeted short-form messages and CME, alone and in combination, are associated with reduced oral fluoroquinolone prescribing among high prescribers. <![CDATA[Effect of different splitting techniques on the characteristics of divided tablets of five commonly split drug products in Jordan]]> Abstract Objective: To determine the accuracy, variability, and weight uniformity of tablet subdivision techniques utilized to divide the tablets of five drug products that are commonly prescribed for use as half tablets in Jordan. Methods: Ten random tablets of five commonly subdivided drug products were weighed and subdivided using three subdivision techniques: hand breaking, kitchen knife, and tablet cutter. The five commonly subdivided drug products (warfarin 5 mg, levothyroxine 50 μg, levothyroxine 100 μg, candesartan 16 mg, and carvedilol 25 mg) were weighed. The weights were analyzed for acceptance, accuracy, and variability. Weight variation acceptance criteria were adopted in this work as a tool to indicate the properness of the subdivision techniques used to produce acceptable half tablets. Other relevant physical characteristics of the five products such as tablet shape, dimensions, face curvature, score depth, and crushing strength were measured. Results: All tablets were round in shape, had weights that ranged between 100.63 mg (standard deviation=0.99) and 379.04 mg (standard deviation=3.00), and had crushing strengths that ranged between 23.29 N (standard deviation=3.58)and 103.35 N (standard deviation=14.98). Both candesartan and carvedilol were bi-convex in shape with an extent of face curvature equal to about 33%. In addition, percentage score depth of the tablets had a range between 0% and 24%. The accuracy and variability of subdivision varied according to the subdivision technique used and tablet characteristics. Accuracy range was between 81% and 109.8%. Moreover, the relative standard deviation was between 1.5% and 17.4%. Warfarin 5 mg subdivided tablets failed the weight variation test regardless of the subdivision technique used. Subdivision by hand produced half tablets that were acceptable for levothyroxine 50 μg and levothyroxine 100 μg. Subdivision by knife produced half tablets that were acceptable only for candesartan tablets. However, the tablet cutter produced half tablets that passed the weight variation test for four out of the five drug products tested in this study. Conclusions: The tablet cutter performed better than the other subdivision techniques used. It produced half tablets that passed the weight uniformity test for four drug products out of the five. <![CDATA[Inpatient prescribing of dual antiplatelet therapy according to the guidelines: a prospective intervention study]]> Abstract Background: In dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT), low-dose acetylsalicylic acid is combined with a P2Y12 inhibitor. However, combining antithrombotic agents increases the risk of bleeding. Guidelines on DAPT recommend using this combination for a limited period of between three weeks and 30 months. This implies the risk of DAPT being erroneously continued after the intended stop date. Objective: The primary objective of this study is to assess the proportion of hospitalized patients treated with DAPT whose treatment deviated erroneously and unintentionally from the guidelines. We also assessed risk factors and the effect of a pharmacist intervention. Methods: All patients admitted to the Spaarne Gasthuis (Haarlem/ Hoofddorp, the Netherlands) who used DAPT between March 25th, 2019, and June 14th, 2019, were, in addition to receiving regular care, reviewed to assess whether their therapy was in line with the guidelines' recommendation and whether deviations were unintended and erroneous. In the event of an unintended deviation, the pharmacist intervened by contacting the prescriber by phone and giving advice to adjust the antithrombotic therapy in line with the guideline. Results: We included 411 patients, of whom 21 patients (5.1%) had a treatment that deviated from the guidelines. For 11 patients (2.7%), the deviation was unintended and erroneous. The major risk factor for erroneous deviation was the use of DAPT before hospital admission (OR 18.7; 95%CI 4.79-72.7). In patients who used DAPT before admission, 18 out of 58 (31.0%) had a deviation from the guidelines of whom 8 (13.8%) were erroneous. For these eight patients, the pharmacist contacted the prescriber, and in these cases the therapy was adjusted in line with the guidelines. Conclusions: Adherence to the guidelines recommending DAPT was high within the hospital. However, patients who used DAPT before hospital admission had a higher risk of erroneous prescription of DAPT. Intervention by a pharmacist increased adherence to guidelines and may reduce the number of preventable bleeding cases. <![CDATA[Barriers to healthcare access for Arabic-speaking population in an English-speaking country]]> Abstract Objective: To identify barriers to healthcare access, to assess the health literacy levels of the foreign-born Arabic speaking population in Iowa, USA and to measure their prevalence of seeking preventive healthcare services. Methods: A cross-sectional study of native Arabic speaking adults involved a focus group and an anonymous paper-based survey. The focus group and the Andersen Model were used to develop the survey questionnaire. The survey participants were customers at Arabic grocery stores, worshippers at the city mosque and patients at free University Clinic. Chi-square test was used to measure the relationship between the characteristics of survey participants and preventive healthcare services. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the focus group transcript. Results: We received 196 completed surveys. Only half of the participants were considered to have good health literacy. More than one-third of the participants had no health insurance and less than half of them visit clinics regularly for preventive measures. Two participant enabling factors (health insurance and residency years) and one need factor (having chronic disease(s)) were found to significantly influence preventive physician visits. Conclusions: This theory-based study provides a tool that can be used in different Western countries where Arabic minority lives. Both the survey and the focus group agreed that lacking health insurance is the main barrier facing their access to healthcare services. The availability of an interpreter in the hospital is essential to help those with inadequate health literacy, particularly new arriving individuals. More free healthcare settings are needed in the county to take care of the increasing number of uninsured Arabic speaking patients. <![CDATA[Exploring learning needs for general practice based pharmacist: Are behavioural and influencing skills needed?]]> Abstract Background: Embedding pharmacists in general practice has been shown to create cost efficiencies, improve patient care and free general practitioner capacity. Consequently, there is a drive to recruit additional pharmacists to work within general practices. However, equipping pharmacists with behaviour and influencing skills may further optimise their impact. Key elements which may enhance behaviour and influencing skills include self-efficacy and resilience. Objective: This study aimed to: 1) Assess general practice pharmacists' self-efficacy and resilience. 2) Explore differences primarily between pharmacists reporting lower and higher self-efficacy, secondarily for those reporting lower and higher scores for resilience. Methods: All 159 NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde general practice pharmacists were invited to complete an online survey in May 2019. The survey captured anonymised data covering: demographics; professional experience; qualifications, prescribing status and preferred learning styles. Unconscious learning needs for behavioural and influencing skills were assessed using validated tools: the new general self-efficacy scale (GSES) and short general resilience scale (GRIT). Participants' responses were differentiated by the lowest quartile and higher quartiles of GSES and GRIT scores, and analysed to identify differences. Results: The survey was completed by 57% (91/159) of eligible pharmacists; mean age 38 (range 24-60) years; 91% were of white ethnicity and 89% female. The median time qualified was 14 (1-38) years and 3 (1-22) years working in general practices. Overall pharmacists scored well on the GSES, mean 25 (SD 3; 95%CI 24.4-25.6), and GRIT, mean 30 (SD 4; 95%CI 29.6-30.4), out of a maximum 32 and 40 respectively. A significant positive correlation between GSES and GRIT scores was found (Pearson's r=0.284, p=0.006). However, no significant differences were identified between pharmacists scoring in the lower and upper quartiles by GSES or GRIT. Overall respondents reported their preferred learning styles were activists (46%) or pragmatists (29%). The majority (91%) preferred blended learning methods as opposed to 38% or less for a range of online methods. Conclusions: General practice pharmacists on average scored highly for self-efficacy and resilience. Higher scores did not appear to be associated with demographic, years of practice, professional or educational experience. Prospective interventions to support those with lower scores may enhance and optimise pharmacists' effectiveness in general practice. <![CDATA[The impact of a self-management educational program coordinated through WhatsApp on diabetes control]]> Abstract Background: Social media can effectively mediate digital health interventions and thus, overcome barriers associated with face-to-face interaction. Objective: To assess the impact of patient-centered diabetes education program administered through WhatsApp on glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) values, assess the correlation, if any, between health literacy and numeracy on intervention outcomes Methods: During an 'intervention phase' spread over six months, target diabetic patients (N=109) received structured education through WhatsApp as per the American Association of Diabetes Educators Self-Care Behaviors recommendations. The control group with an equal number of participants received 'usual care' provided by health professionals void of the social media intervention. Changes in HbA1c levels were recorded thrice (at baseline, 3 and 6 months) for the test group and twice (baseline and 6 months) for the control group. Change in HbA1c values were compared and statistical significance was defined at p&lt;0.05. Baseline health literacy and diabetes numeracy were assessed for both groups (N=218) using the Literacy Assessment for Diabetes (LAD), and the Diabetes Numeracy Test (DNT), respectively, and values were correlated with HbA1c change p&lt;0.05. Participants' satisfaction with the intervention was also assessed. Results: The average age of respondents was 41.98 (SD 15.05) years, with a diabetes history of 10.2 (SD 8.5) years. At baseline, the average HbA1c in the control and test groups were 8.4 (SD 1.06) and 8.5 (SD 1.29), respectively. After six months, a significant drop in HbA1c value was noticed in intervention group (7.7; SD 1.35; p= 0.001); with no significance in the control group (8.4; SD 1.32; p=0.032, paired t-test). Moreover, the reduction in HbA1c was more in the test group (0.7%) than the control group (0.1%) with a difference of 0.6% which is considered clinically significant. There was no significant correlation between LAD score and HbA1c at baseline (r=-0.203, p=0.064), 3 months (r=-0.123, p=0.266) and 6 months (r=-0.106, p= 0.337) Pearson correlation. A similar result was observed with DNT, where DNT score and HbA1c at baseline, 3 months and 6 months showed no correlation (r=0.112, 0.959 and 0.886; respectively) with HbA1c levels. Eighty percent of the respondents found the social media intervention 'beneficial' and suggested it be used long term. Conclusions: Diabetes education via WhatsApp showed promising outcomes regardless of the level of patients' health literacy or numeracy. <![CDATA[Work fatigue among Lebanese community pharmacists: prevalence and correlates]]> Abstract Objective: To assess work fatigue and its associated factors among community pharmacists in Lebanon. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted between March and July 2018. A proportionate sample of 435 community pharmacists was selected from all regions of Lebanon. A standardized self-administered questionnaire, distributed by trained interviewers, was used to assess the studied variables. Results: The results showed that 50.12% of the pharmacists had emotional work fatigue [95%CI 0.454-0.549], 55.01% had mental work fatigue [95%CI 0.503-0.597], and 54.78% had physical work fatigue [95%CI 0.501-0.595]. Higher mental work fatigue was significantly associated with higher stress (Beta=0.185) and having a master's degree compared to a bachelor's degree (Beta=2.23). Higher emotional work fatigue was significantly associated with higher stress (Beta=0.219), working more than 40 hours compared to ≤ 16 hours (Beta=2.742), and having 6 months to less than 1 year of practice compared to less than 6 months (Beta=-5.238). Higher physical work fatigue was significantly associated with higher stress (Beta=0.169) and having better soft skills (Beta=-0.163). Conclusions: Work-related fatigue is high among community pharmacists and touches all aspects: physical, mental, and emotional. In our study, community pharmacists' fatigue levels were associated with educational level, years of experience, working hours, stress, depression, and soft skills, while no relation was found with gender, age, position in the pharmacy, and economic status. Interventions are recommended to tackle this public health problem that affects pharmacists, and eventually, patients. <![CDATA[Cost of hospitalisation and length of stay due to hypoglycaemia in patients with diabetes mellitus: a cross-sectional study]]> Abstract Objective: This study aims to estimate the length of stay and hospitalisation cost of hypoglycaemia, and to identify determinants of variation in the length of stay and hospitalisation cost among individual patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using inpatients records for patients with diabetes mellitus who had been hospitalised due to hypoglycaemic events in two private hospitals in Amman, Jordan between January 2009 and May 2017. All hospitalisation costs were inflated to the equivalent costs in 2017. Hospitalisation cost was estimated from the patient's perspective in Jordanian dinars (JOD). Descriptive analyses and correlation between sociodemographic or clinical characteristics with the cost and length of stay were explored. Predictors of hypoglycaemic hospitalisation cost and length of stay were determined using logistic regression. Results: During the study period a total of 126 patients with diabetes mellitus were hospitalised due to an incident of hypoglycaemia. The mean patient age was 64.2 (SD=19.6) years; half were male. Patients admitted for hypoglycaemia stayed in hospital for a median duration of two days (IQR=2 days). The median cost of hospitalisation for hypoglycaemia was 163.2 JOD (USD 230.1) (IQR=216.3 JOD). We found that the Glasgow coma score was positively associated with length of stay (0.345, p=0.008), and older age was correlated with higher hospitalisation cost (0.207, p=0.02). Patients with a family history of diabetes had higher hospitalisation costs and longer duration of stay (0.306 and 0.275, p&lt;0.05). In addition, being a male patient (0.394, p&lt;0.05) and with an absence of smoking history was associated with longer duration of stay (0.456, p&lt;0.01), but not with higher hospitalisation cost. Conclusions: Costs associated with the incidence of hypoglycaemic events are not low and constitute a large cost component of managing and treating diabetes mellitus. Male patients and patients having a family history of diabetes should receive extra care and education on the prevention of hypoglycaemic events, and a treatment de-intensification approach should be considered if necessary, so we can prevent its associated hospitalisation costs and length of stay. <![CDATA[Survey of undergraduates' perceptions of experiential learning in the MPharm programme: The TELL Project]]> Abstract Objective: To determine the perception of undergraduate pharmacy students of their experiential learning (EL) placements both in the community and hospital settings. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted utilizing a six-item online survey consisting of one open-ended and five closed-ended questions, the latter utilising five-point Likert-type scales ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). All undergraduate pharmacy students from the School of Pharmacy (N=496) were included in the study. Survey questions assessed students' perceptions on the effectiveness of the EL, tutors and placements sites, and organisation and structure of the EL. Thematic content analysis was performed on the open-ended comments, where relevant themes were generated. Results: From the 139 responses (response rate: 28%), 121 responses were analysed, and of these, 72.5% already had part-time jobs in community pharmacies. Close to 85% felt that their part-time work should contribute to EL hours, which is currently not recognised by the university. Respondents were positive about the effectiveness of EL in developing their professionalism and communication (M=3.84, SD=1.05), clinical (M=3.42, SD=1.22), and technical skills (M=3.32, SD=1.25) Respondents provided favourable feedback about their experience in the hospital as it gave them a real-world exposure to the role of a hospital pharmacist. Community placements were not viewed favourably and this was mainly attributed to the poor experience with tutors whom they felt used them as an extra pair of hands. This was thought to impede their learning experience. They also felt that hospital placements were of insufficient duration, reported by 72.5% of respondents. Respondents also felt they should be sent to other sites such as primary care for placements. Conclusions: Tutor-training is key to ensure tutors are aware of the responsibilities and expectations. Similarly, quality assurance measures should be adopted to ensure tutors and placement sites are capable of providing students with an effective placement experience. While placement durations are a concern, the focus should be on the quality of the placement experience, and ensuring there is structure and flexibility. Content changes are also needed to include emerging placement sites such as primary care to prepare students for evolving pharmacist roles in the changing healthcare system. <![CDATA[Evaluation of risk factors and drug adherence in the occurrence of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation]]> Abstract Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) patients are at high risk of developing a stroke and anticoagulant medications are generally prescribed to prevent stroke in AF population. Objective: This study aims to evaluate stroke risk factors among hospitalized patients with AF and to assess the level of adherence to medications in AF patients and their relation with stroke. Methods: This is a case-control study conducted between June 1st, 2018 and December 31th, 2018 among AF patients admitted to seven tertiary Lebanese hospitals. Data were collected using a standardized questionnaire. Adherence to medications was assessed using the Lebanese Medication Adherence Scale-14. Odds ratios (OR) expressed the strength of association between the independent variables and the dependent variable and were estimated using unconditional logistic regression adjusted for confounding factors. P&lt;0.05 determined statistical significance. Results: In total, 174 cases of AF patients were included with 87 cases and 87 controls. The risk of stroke among AF significantly increased with the presence of a history of hypertension, aOR 16.04 (95%CI, 2.27-113.37; p=0.005), history of coronary heart disease/myocardial infarction, and history of obesity. Anticoagulant medication significantly decreased the risk of stroke among AF patients, aOR 0.27 (95%CI, 0.07-0.98; P=0.047). High adherence to medications was significantly associated with a reduced risk of stroke, aOR 0.04 (95%CI, 0.01-0.23; p&lt;0.001). Conclusions: Having a history of hypertension is one of the strongest risk factors for stroke among AF patients in Lebanon. While anticoagulant medication use was associated with a reduced risk for stroke, high adherence to medications is critical for stroke prevention. Public health interventions are needed to tackle low-adherence to medication and prevent stroke among AF patients. <![CDATA[Exploring Australian pharmacists' perceptions and attitudes toward codeine up-scheduling from over-the-counter to prescription only]]> Abstract Objective: Explore the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of pharmacists relating to the up-scheduling of low dose codeine containing analgesics and the impact on pharmacy practice. Methods: A mixed design method was used consisting of an anonymous online questionnaire survey to quantitatively capture broad pre-scheduling change perceptions paired with a series of in-depth post-scheduling semi-structured interviews to provide a qualitative picture of the impact of codeine up-scheduling on pharmacy practice in Australia. Results: A total of 191 pharmacists completed the quantitative survey and 10 participated in the in-depth interview. The majority of respondents supported the decision to up-schedule over-the-counter combination products containing codeine to some degree. Three main themes emerged from the data: pharmacists' perceptions of the codeine up-scheduling decision, preparing for the up-schedule and impact of the up-schedule on pharmacy practice. Pharmacists were concerned about the impact of up-scheduling on the pharmacy business, patient access to pain relief and the diminishment of their professional role. Conclusions: There were diverse perceptions, preparedness and impact on practice regarding the up-scheduling of low dose codeine products. Further research should be conducted to gauge if and how these perceptions have changed over time and to identify whether pain is being managed more effectively post codeine up-scheduling. <![CDATA[Prevalence of tablet splitting in a Brazilian tertiary care hospital]]> Abstract Background: Although a highly common practice in hospital care, tablet splitting can cause dose variation and reduce drug stability, both of which impair drug therapy. Objective: To determine the overall prevalence of tablet splitting in hospital care as evidence supporting the rational prescription of split tablets in hospitals. Methods: Data collected from inpatients' prescriptions were analyzed using descriptive statistics and used to calculate the overall prevalence of tablet splitting and the percentage of split tablets that had at least one lower-strength tablet available on the market. The associations between the overall prevalence and gender, age, and hospital unit of patients were also assessed. The results of laboratory tests, performed with a commercial splitter, allowed the calculation of the mass loss, mass variation, and friability of the split tablets. Results: The overall prevalence of tablet splitting was 4.5%, and 78.5% of tablets prescribed to be split had at least one lower-strength tablet on the market. The prevalence of tablet splitting was significantly associated with the patient's age and hospital unit. Laboratory tests revealed mean values of mass loss and variation of 8.7% (SD 1.8) and 11.7% (SD 2.3), respectively, both of which were significantly affected by the presence of coating and scoreline. Data from laboratory tests indicated that the quality of 12 of the 14 tablets deviated in at least one parameter examined. Conclusions: The high percentage of unnecessary tablet splitting suggests that more regular, rational updates of the hospital's list of standard medicines are needed. Also, inappropriate splitting behavior suggests the need to develop tablets with functional scores. <![CDATA[Prescribers' perceptions of benefits and limitations of direct acting oral anticoagulants in non-valvular atrial fibrillation]]> Abstract Background: There is an acknowledged lack of robust and rigorous research focusing on the perspectives of those prescribing direct acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs) for non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF). Objective: The objective was to describe prescribers' experiences of using DOACs in the management of non-valvular AF, including perceptions of benefits and limitations. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of prescribers in a remote and rural area of Scotland. Among other items, the questionnaire invited free-text description of positive and negative experiences of DOACs, and benefits and limitations. Responses were independently analysed by two researchers using a summative content analysis approach. This involved counting and comparison, via keywords and content, followed by interpretation and coding of the underlying context into themes. Results: One hundred and fifty-four responses were received, 120 (77.9%) from physicians, 18 (11.7%) from nurse prescribers and 10 (6.4%) from pharmacist prescribers (6 unidentified professions). Not having to monitor INR was the most cited benefit, particularly for prescribers and patients in remote and rural settings, followed by potentially improved patient adherence. These benefits were reflected in respondents' descriptions of positive experiences and patient feedback. The main limitations were the lack of reversal agents, cost and inability to monitor anticoagulation status. Many described their experiences of adverse effects of DOACs including fatal and non-fatal bleeding, and upper gastrointestinal disturbances. Conclusions: While prescribers have positive experiences and perceive benefits of DOACs, issues such as adverse effects and inability to monitor anticoagulation status merit further monitoring and investigation. These issues are particularly relevant given the trajectory of increased prescribing of DOACs. <![CDATA[Advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPE) in academia as strategy to fill the gap on transgender health]]> Abstract Background: There is an acknowledged lack of robust and rigorous research focusing on the perspectives of those prescribing direct acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs) for non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF). Objective: The objective was to describe prescribers' experiences of using DOACs in the management of non-valvular AF, including perceptions of benefits and limitations. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of prescribers in a remote and rural area of Scotland. Among other items, the questionnaire invited free-text description of positive and negative experiences of DOACs, and benefits and limitations. Responses were independently analysed by two researchers using a summative content analysis approach. This involved counting and comparison, via keywords and content, followed by interpretation and coding of the underlying context into themes. Results: One hundred and fifty-four responses were received, 120 (77.9%) from physicians, 18 (11.7%) from nurse prescribers and 10 (6.4%) from pharmacist prescribers (6 unidentified professions). Not having to monitor INR was the most cited benefit, particularly for prescribers and patients in remote and rural settings, followed by potentially improved patient adherence. These benefits were reflected in respondents' descriptions of positive experiences and patient feedback. The main limitations were the lack of reversal agents, cost and inability to monitor anticoagulation status. Many described their experiences of adverse effects of DOACs including fatal and non-fatal bleeding, and upper gastrointestinal disturbances. Conclusions: While prescribers have positive experiences and perceive benefits of DOACs, issues such as adverse effects and inability to monitor anticoagulation status merit further monitoring and investigation. These issues are particularly relevant given the trajectory of increased prescribing of DOACs. <![CDATA[Community pharmacy and primary health care in Sweden - at a crossroads]]> Abstract The overall goal of Swedish health care is good health and equitable care for the whole population. The responsibility for health is shared by the central government, the regions, and the municipalities. Primary care accounts for approximately 20 percent of all expenditures on health care. About 16% of all physicians work in primary health. The regions have also employed a large number of clinical pharmacists, usually hospital-based, but many perform a variety of different primary care services, the most common of which is patient medication reviews. Swedish primary health care is at a crossroads facing extensive challenges, due to changes in demography and demanding financial conditions. These changes necessitate large transformations in health services and delivery. Current Government inquiries have primarily focused on two ways to meet the challenges; a shift towards more local care requiring a transfer of resources from hospital care, and a further development of structured digi-physical care, that is both digital (“online doctors”) and physical accessibility of care. While primary care at present is undergoing processes of change, community pharmacy has done so during the past decade since the re-regulation of the Swedish pharmacy market. A monopoly was replaced by a competitive system, where five pharmacy chains now share most of the market, a competition that has made community pharmacy very commercialized. A number of different, promising primary care services are being offered, but they are usually delivered on a small scale due to a lack of remuneration and philosophy of providers. Priority is given to sales and fast dispensing of prescriptions, often with a minimum of counseling. Reflecting primary health care, community pharmacy in Sweden is at a crossroads but currently has a golden opportunity to choose a route of collaboration with primary health care in its current transformation into more local and digi-physical care. A major challenge is that primary health care inquires, strategic plans, and national policy documents usually do not include community pharmacy as a partner. Hence, community pharmacy have to be proactive and seize this chance of changes in primary health policy and organization in order to become an important link in the chain of health care delivery, or there is a significant risk that it will predominantly remain a retail business. <![CDATA[Primary health care policy and vision for community pharmacy and pharmacists in Australia]]> Abstract There is evidence that the Australian Government is embracing a more integrated approach to health, with implementation of initiatives like primary health networks (PHNs) and the Government's Health Care Homes program. However, integration of community pharmacy into primary health care faces challenges, including the lack of realistic integration in PHNs, and in service and remuneration models from government. Ideally, coordinated multidisciplinary teams working collaboratively in the community setting are needed, where expanding skills are embraced rather than resisted. It appears that community pharmacy is not sufficiently represented at a local level. Current service remuneration models encourage a volume approach. While more complex services and clinical roles, with associated remuneration structures (such as, accredited pharmacists, pharmacists embedded in general practice and residential aged care facilities) promote follow up, collaboration and integration into primary health care, they potentially marginalize community pharmacies. Community pharmacists' roles have evolved and are being recognized as the medication management experts of the health care team at a less complex level with the delivery of MedChecks, clinical interventions and medication adherence services. More recently, vaccination services have greatly expanded through community pharmacy. Policy documents from professional bodies highlight the need to extend pharmacy services and enhance integration within primary care. The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's Pharmacists in 2023 report envisages pharmacists practising to full scope, driving greater efficiencies in the health system. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia's future vision identifies community pharmacy as health hubs facilitating the provision of cost-effective and integrated health care services to patients. In 2019, the Australian Government announced the development of a Primary Health Care 10-Year Plan which will guide resource allocation for primary health care in Australia. At the same time, the Government has committed to conclude negotiations on the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement (7CPA) with a focus on allowing pharmacists to practice to full scope and pledges to strengthen the role of primary care by better supporting pharmacists as primary health care providers. The 7CPA and the Government's 10-year plan will largely shape the practice and viability of community pharmacy. It is essential that both provide a philosophical direction and prioritize integration, remuneration and resources which recognize the professional contribution and competencies of community pharmacy and community pharmacists, the financial implications of service roles and the retention of medicines-supply roles. <![CDATA[Primary health care policy and vision for community pharmacy and pharmacists in Spain]]> Abstract From a political and governance perspective Spain is a decentralized country with 17 states [comunidades autónomas] resulting in a governmental structure similar to a federal state. The various state regional health services organizational and management structures are focused on caring for acute illnesses and are dominated by hospitals and technology. In a review by the Interstate Council, a body for intercommunication and cooperation between the state health care services and national government, there is a move to improve health care through an integrative approach between specialized care and primary care at the state level. Community pharmacy does not appear to have a major role in this review. Primary health care is becoming more important and leading the change to improve the roles of the health care teams. Primary care pharmacists as the rest of public health professionals are employed by the respective states and are considered public servants. Total health care expenditure is 9.0% of its GDP with the public health sector accounting for the 71% and the private sector 29% of this expenditure. Community pharmacy contracts with each state health administration for the supply and dispensing of medicines and a very limited number of services. There are approximately 22,000 community pharmacies and 52,000 community pharmacists for a population of 47 million people. All community pharmacies are privately owned with only pharmacists owning a single pharmacy. Pharmacy chain stores are not legally permitted. Community pharmacy practice is based on dispensing of medications and dealing with consumer minor symptoms and requests for nonprescription medications although extensive philosophical deep debates on the conceptual and practical development of new clinical services have resulted in national consensually agreed classifications, definitions and protocolized services. There are a few remunerated services in Spain and these are funded at state, provincial or municipal level. There are no health services approved or funded at a national level. Although the profession promulgates a patient orientated community pharmacy it appears to be reluctant to advocate for a change in the remuneration model. The profession as a whole should reflect on the role of community pharmacy and advocate for a change to practice that is patient orientated alongside the maintenance of its stance on being a medication supplier. The future strategic position of community pharmacy in Spain as a primary health care partner with government would then be enhanced. <![CDATA[Primary health care policy and vision for community pharmacy and pharmacists in Lebanon]]> Abstract Within a crippling economic context and a rapidly evolving healthcare system, pharmacists in Lebanon are striving to promote their role in primary care. Community pharmacists, although held in high esteem by the population, are not recognised as primary health care providers by concerned authorities. They are perceived as medication sellers. The role of the pharmacist in primary health care networks, established by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) to serve most vulnerable populations, is limited to medication delivery. The practice of the pharmacy profession in Lebanon has been regulated in 1950 by the Lebanese Pharmacists Association [Order of Pharmacists of Lebanon] (OPL). In 2016, the OPL published its mission, vision, and objectives, aiming to protect the pharmacists' rights by enforcing rules and procedures, raise the profession's level through continuous education, and ensure patients' appropriate access to medications and pharmacist's counseling for safe medication use. Since then, based on the identified challenges, the OPL has suggested several programs, inspired by the World Health Organization and the International Pharmaceutical Federation guidelines, as part of a strategic plan to develop the pharmacy profession and support patient safety. These programs included the application of principles of good governance, the provision of paid services, developing pharmacists' core and advanced competencies, generation of accreditation standards for both community pharmacy and pharmacy education, suggesting new laws and decrees, continuing education consolidation and professional development. There was an emphasis on all decisions to be evidence assessment-based. However, OPL faces a major internal political challenge: its governing body, which is reelected every three years, holds absolute powers in changing strategies for the three-year mandate, without program continuation beyond each mandate. Within this context, we recommend the implementation of a strategic plan to integrate pharmacy in primary health centers, promoting the public health aspect of the profession and taking into account of critical health issues and the changing demographics and epidemiological transition of the Lebanese population. Unless the proposed blueprint in this paper is adopted, the profession is unfortunately condemned to disappear in the current political, economic and health-related Lebanese context. <![CDATA[Preparing for the next generation pharmacists]]> Abstract To address the changes in health care and the needs of society related to medicines, we must redefine the profession of pharmacy. We have defined the next generation pharmacists (NGP) as “a health care provider and change agent on the interprofessional health care team, personalizing medication use, managing safe and effective medication systems, and creating healthier communities.” Schools and colleges of pharmacy should thoroughly examine their curriculum to ensure it is preparing pharmacists for this future. By creating a vision for the NGP and implementing the best curriculum, we ensure that pharmacists of the future will be up to the challenge of our society's health care needs..