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Pharmacists' management of over-the-counter medication requests from methadone patients

Akram, Gazala and Roberts, Kay (2003) Pharmacists' management of over-the-counter medication requests from methadone patients. Journal of Substance Use, 8 (4). pp. 215-222. ISSN 1465-9891

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Abstract

Aim To determine how pharmacists respond to requests for over‐the‐counter (OTC) medicines by patients on a methadone maintenance programme. Design Postal self‐administered questionnaire distributed to all Greater Glasgow Health Board (GGHB) pharmacies. Participants Community pharmacists involved in the GGHB methadone maintenance programme. Findings Pharmacists are consulted most frequently for advice about colds/flu and gastrointestinal symptoms. Analgesics (by specific brand) were found to be the most often requested OTC product. Most requests (either for advice or sale of a product) were dealt with personally by the pharmacist. In most instances, pharmacists were suspicious of these requests and were reluctant to make a supply. The most common product for which sales were refused was Nytol (diphenhydramine), a sedative antihistamine. Although no statistical difference was found between gender, a greater proportion of those denying sales were female. However, no difference was found in pharmacist propensity to deny or allow a sale and their age (determined by year of registration). Conclusion This study has given an insight into how community pharmacists deal with OTC medication requests and the nature of such requests. Pharmacists were found to be cautious when dealing with methadone patients, although requests for OTC products from this group were few in number.