Herbal medicines supplied by community pharmacies in Lagos, Nigeria: pharmacists’ knowledge
Background: The use of herbal medicines is on the increase globally and they are usually supplied in pharmacies as non-prescription medicines. Pharmacists are, therefore, responsible for educating and informing the consumers about rational use of herbal medicines.
Objectives: To evaluate the knowledge of pharmacists in Lagos, Nigeria with regards to the herbal medicines they supplied by their pharmacies.
Methods: Pharmacists in charge of randomly selected 140 community pharmacies from 20 Local Government Areas in Lagos were required to fill out a self-administered questionnaire. We gathered information on their knowledge of the indications, adverse effects, potential drug-herb interactions and contraindications of the herbal medicines they supply in their pharmacies.
Results: Of the 140 questionnaires distributed, 103 (72.9%) participants completed the questionnaire appropriately. The majority (74; 71.8%) of the participants were males and 36-50 years (56; 54.4%). The pharmacies supplied mostly Yoyo cleanser bitters® (101; 98.5%), ginseng (97; 98.5%), Jobelyn® (91; 88.3%), Ciklavit® (68; 66.6%), gingko (66; 64.1%), herbal tea (66; 64.1%), and Aloe vera (57; 55.3%). The pharmacists self-rated their knowledge of herbal medicines mostly as fair (39%) and good (42%), but they exhibited poor knowledge with regards to the indications, contraindications and safety profiles. Seventy participants consulted reference materials such as leaflet insert in the herbal medicines (56%) and internet (20%) before supplying herbal medicines. The information most frequently sought was herb-drug interactions (85%), contraindications (75%) and adverse effects (70%).
Conclusions: Community pharmacists need to be informed about the indications and safety profiles of herbal medicines.
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