The evolution of pharmaceutical care for drug misusers

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Abstract

Background.

In the last 20 years, pharmaceutical care has evolved as a modus operandi for community pharmacy. This article tracks the development of pharmaceutical care for drug misusers since 1995 and considers the implications for pharmacy engagement with the wider care team.

Objective.

To survey current community pharmacy service provision for drug misusers, past training and future training needs and compare with data from previous years (1995, 2000 and 2006).

Method.

A cross-sectional postal questionnaire of pharmacy managers in Scotland (n = 1246), and telephone interviews with non-respondents. Results were compared with previous surveys.

Results.

The response rate was 70% (873) including 13.2% (164) by telephone. More pharmacies dispensed methadone in 2014 (88.5%) than previously, a significant increase across all time points (1995, 2000 and 2006) (P < 0.001). Most pharmacies (88.1%) had some drug misusers registered for the minor ailment scheme. In 2014, 43.4% of pharmacists always reported a drug misuser’s non-attendance for opiate replacement treatment (ORT) to the prescriber (36.6% in 2006). If patient intoxication was suspected, medication was always withheld by 47.9% (27.5% in 2006). Pharmacists undertaking training in drug misuse and blood-borne diseases increased significantly since 1995, to 78.6% and 48.7%, respectively, in 2014 (P < 0.001). The preferred topic for future training was communication/engagement with other services.

Conclusion.

Pharmaceutical care for drug misusers has evolved from ORT supply to a more clinical approach. Pharmacists actively monitored ORT patients, managed their minor ailments and increasingly engaged with the wider care team.

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