An exploratory study of community pharmacist diagnosis and management of dermatitis and acne


Rod P Tucker*, Katie MacLure*, Vibhu Paudyal*, Alison M Layton**, Anthony Bewley†, Derek Stewart*


*School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, AB10 7GJ, Scotland, UK **Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust, Department of Dermatology, Harrogate, England, UK †Whipps Cross University Hospital, Department of Dermatology, London, England, UK



Dermatitis and acne account for a large number of general practitioner appointments yet are amenable to treatment with products available to purchase from community pharmacies.


1. The clinical appropriateness of community pharmacy interventions for these conditions
2. Patient reported measures of the effectiveness of the pharmacist’s management of their condition.


Nine community pharmacies opportunistically recruited patients presenting with suspected cases of both conditions, taking digital images and audio-recording the consultation. These files were uploaded to a secure site and independently reviewed by three dermatology specialists.

Following their consultation, patients received a questionnaire to assess their views on the effectiveness of the treatment provided and their level of satisfaction with pharmacy management.


Forty patients (36 dermatitis and 4 acne) were recruited.

Of 113 assessments (7 not rated due to missing data) reviewed, specialists agreed with pharmacist’s diagnosis in 33.6% of cases, disagreed in 38.9% but were unable to determine the diagnosis in 27% of cases. Treatment was deemed appropriate in 42% of cases, inappropriate in 27% and indeterminate in 31% of cases.

Twenty-three patients (58%) returned a questionnaire and 12 of these (54.5%, 1 missing) stated that their condition had cleared completely following pharmacist advised treatment. Almost all (91.3%) were very satisfied or satisfied with the advice and/or treatment provided.


Specialists judged the clinical appropriateness of pharmacist diagnosis and management as suboptimal yet patients were more positive. This study indicates a possible need for greater assessment-related training in dermatology for study pharmacists and further work to determine the generalisability of findings.

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