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Assessing Pharmacist Comfort in Recommending OTC Medications for Pregnant Patients

Knowledge gaps can make OTC medication recommendations for this population a challenge.

Pregnancy is filled with aches, pains, and other discomforts, which may lead to pregnant patients turning to OTC medications and relying on pharmacist knowledge for specific recommendations. Pharmacist confidence in recommending OTC medications that are safe for use during pregnancy was the subject of a poster presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Meeting, held December 4 to 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada.1

Investigators administered a survey to participating pharmacy, physician assistant, and doctor of osteopathy students at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois, as well as to practicing community pharmacists in the city of Chicago and suburbs west of the city. Participants were given a brochure with a list of safe OTC medications for pregnant patients and were asked if it would help provide quick, accurate safety information to patients as well as boost their confidence.

A total of 72 students and 16 pharmacists completed the survey. Respondents agreed overall that a brochure would be a helpful way to answer the questions about OTC medications more accurately (93.1% students, and 93.8% pharmacists, respectively), more confidently (95.8% and 87.5%), and faster (91.7% and 100%). All pharmacists and a majority of the students said that they would like to have the brochure as a reference guide either for current practice or in the future. Additionally, the pharmacists thought that patients would derive benefit from the brochure as well.

Currently, an agreed-upon list of safe OTC medications for pregnancy patients does not exist. This gap in knowledge “could lead to delayed or unsafe use,” the researchers wrote. The brochure created for this research helped fill this gap and may potentially lead to improvements in care.

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Reference

1. Craven AT, Hill M. Recommending over the counter products to pregnant patients: what do practicing pharmacists and healthcare students think? Presented at: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists 2022 Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exhibition; December 4-8, 2022; Las Vegas, NV. Poster 3-024.


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