9 Children/young people taking long-term medicines – a survey of the experiences of community pharmacists

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Abstract

Aim

To identify the experiences of community pharmacists in caring for children/young people, or their parents/carers, taking long-term medicines.

Method

A pre-piloted 13 point semi-structured survey, participant information leaflet, consent form and pre-paid return envelope were posted to all 354 community pharmacists who had dispensed a prescription from a single specialist paediatric hospital during November and December 2015. Community pharmacy addresses were obtained from the National Health Service Business Services Authority ePACT system. Telephone follow-up of non-responders and, if necessary, a repeat mailing was made from 3 weeks after the original return by date.

Method

Participants were asked about their experiences of undertaking a medication review with either children/young people or their parents/carers, medication-related problems presenting to them, adherence, information needs of patients/carers and what issues were reported to them from this group.

Method

The data were analysed using SPSS version 22 and NVivo version 10.

Results

A response rate of 76/354 (21.5%) was achieved. Eighteen (23.7%) respondents had undertaken a Medicines Use Review (MUR),122 (28.9%) a New Medicines Service (NMS)2 review and 16 (21.1%) had undertaken another type of medication review in a child/young person. Respondents reported that patients or their carers had presented to them with adherence issues including stopping the medicine (24, 31.6%) and changing the dose (28, 36.8%) without informing the prescriber. Patients or their carers had requested information from them about the indication (59, 77.6%), dose regime (63, 82.9%), administration (64, 84.2%) and adverse effects (58, 76.6%). Respondents also reported patients/carers experiencing difficulties obtaining further supplies of a medicine from their community pharmacy (47, 61.8%) and patients’ general practitioners declining to prescribe a medicine recommended by the patient’s hospital-based specialist (27, 35.5%).

Conclusion

This study has demonstrated that children, and their carers, taking long-term medicines experience a range of issues that they present to community pharmacists. Many of these issues would fall within the purview of currently funded medication review services namely the NMS and MUR.1,2 However, the proportion of pharmacists in this study undertaking formal medication review with children or their parents/carers was low. Further work is required to demonstrate the outcomes that such a review could have in this cohort of patients.

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