Bioidentical hormone therapy: Nova Scotia pharmacists’ knowledge and beliefs

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Anne M. Whelan
Jean-Pierre Thebeau
Tannis M. Jurgens
Eileen Husrt



Objectives: To investigate Nova Scotia (NS) pharmacists’ knowledge and beliefs regarding the use of bioidentical hormones (BHs) for the management of menopause related symptoms.

Methods: Using Dillman’s tailored design methodology, an invitation to complete the web-based questionnaire was emailed to pharmacists in NS as part of the Dalhousie College of Pharmacy Continuing Pharmacy Education Department’s (CPE) weekly email update. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Of approximately 1300 e-mails sent, 113 pharmacists completed the questionnaire (response rate 8.7%). The majority of respondents (94%) knew that BHs were not free from adverse drug reactions. More than 50% were aware that conjugated equine estrogens and medroxyprogesterone acetate were not examples of BHs. For seven of eleven knowledge questions, 33-45% indicated that they did not know the answer. When asked about their beliefs regarding BHs, many believed that BHs were similar in efficacy (49%) or more effective (21%) than conventional hormone therapy (CHT) for vasomotor symptoms. Most respondents also believed that both BHs and CHT had similar safety profiles. Additionally, responding pharmacists indicated that more education would be helpful, especially in the area of safety and efficacy of BHTs compared to CHT.

Conclusion: NS pharmacists knew BHs were not free of adverse effects, however knowledge was lacking in other areas. This may reflect the level of coverage of this topic in pharmacy school curriculums and in the pharmacy literature. Results indicate a need for additional education of NS pharmacists with respect to BHs, which could be accomplished through modification of undergraduate pharmacy programs and supplementary CPE.

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