The practice of OTC counseling by community pharmacists in Parana, Brazil

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Gerusa C. Halila
Edson H. Junior
Michel F. Otuki
Cassyano J. Correr


Nonprescription Drugs, Professional Practice, Pharmacies, Evidence-Based Practice, Brazil


Background: In order to provide appropriate advice to the patient at the time of dispensing and over-the-counter (OTC) medication counseling, community pharmacists need access to current and reliable information about medicines. Brazilian pharmacists have assumed new functions such as prescribing medication, in a dependent model, based in protocols.

Objective: To examine the practice of community pharmacists in a Brazilian State, focusing on OTC recommendation.

Method: A cross-sectional survey of community pharmacists in a state of Brazil was conducted from October 2013 to January 2014, with data collection through a pre-piloted self-administered anonymous survey via Survey Monkey® platform. Following ethical approval, the online instrument was sent to 8,885 pharmacists registered in Parana State, Brazil, focusing on professionals working in community pharmacies. The questionnaire assessed the community pharmacy setting, the search for information, the knowledge of the evidence-based practice, the important factors to consider when recommending an OTC medicine, and the pharmacist prescribing.  Responses were imported into SPSS® (version 22.0) for analysis. Nonparametric tests were used to assess the association between responses and demographic information with a significance level less than 5% (p<0.05).

Results: Of the pharmacists, 97.4% dispensed medications and counseled patients for a median of six hours per day. Product's efficacy (97%) and adverse effects (62.3%) were the most important factors taken into account when counseling a nonprescription medicine. Few pharmacists knew the meaning of terms related to evidence-based health. Most respondents agreed that pharmacists have the necessary training to prescribe.

Conclusion: Over-the-counter medication counseling is a daily practice among Brazilian pharmacists. Learning needs exist for community pharmacists in relation to evidence-based practice. Thus, sources of information with good evidence could be used daily by community pharmacists, especially as regards nonprescription medication counseling.



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