Antibiotic treatment of urinary tract infection by community pharmacists : a cross-sectional study

Booth, Jill L and Mullen, Alexander B and Thomson, David AM and Johnstone, Christopher and Galbraith, Susan J and Bryson, Scott M and McGovern, Elizabeth M (2013) Antibiotic treatment of urinary tract infection by community pharmacists : a cross-sectional study. British Journal of General Practice, 63 (609). ISSN 0960-1643 (

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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common conditions seen in female patients within primary care. Community pharmacists are conversant with symptomatic UTI management and supplying trimethoprim under patient group direction (PGD) for moderate to severe uncomplicated UTIs could improve patient access to effective treatment. To compare the care pathway of patients with UTI symptoms attending GP services with those receiving management, including trimethoprim supply under PGD, via community pharmacies. Ten community pharmacies within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The pharmacies invited a purposive sample of female patients to participate. Pharmacists had the option of supplying trimethoprim under PGD to patients with moderate to severe infection meeting the PGD inclusion criteria. Data from patient (questionnaires and semi-structured telephone interviews) and pharmacist (questionnaires and semi-structured, face-to-face interviews) were quantitatively and qualitatively analysed. Data were recorded on 153 patients, 97 presenting with GP prescriptions and 56 presenting directly in the pharmacy with symptoms suggestive of UTI, of whom 41 received trimethoprim via PGD and 15 received symptomatic management. Both GP adherence to local infection management guidelines and pharmacist application of PGD inclusion/exclusion criteria required improvement. There was demand and support, from patients and pharmacists, for access to antibiotic treatments for UTIs, without prescription, through community pharmacies. Operating within PGD restrictions, antibiotic treatments for UTIs could be provided via community pharmacy to improve patient access to treatment which may also maintain antibiotic stewardship and reduce GP workload.