With over-the-counter (OTC) medication use increasing each year, furthering our understanding of the information sources which influence recommendation practices of community-based pharmacists is important for optimizing patient care. The objective of this study was to determine the relative importance of various information sources favored by US community pharmacists when selecting and/or recommending OTC systemic analgesic drug products.
A twenty-question, cross-sectional online survey evaluating the influence of medical, social, and marketing related information sources on pharmacists’ decisions to select and recommend OTC analgesic products was distributed to registered community pharmacists practicing throughout the US.
A total of 500 community pharmacists were included in the analysis. The most common responses per demographic category included location: southern United States (34.6%), practice experience: 21-30 years (28.4%), practice setting: chain/mass merchandiser (46.4%). Overall, social and medical forces were found to have a greater impact on OTC analgesic recommendations than marketing forces. Among medical forces, secondary/tertiary literature was found to have a significantly higher mean influence rating than other medical forces for both efficacy and safety information. Advertising was found to have the lowest overall impact compared to other information sources assessed.
The results of this study provide insight into which factors and information sources influence the analgesic self-care recommendation practices of community pharmacists. These sources may be considered by educators and publishers when developing educational programs for pharmacists and student pharmacists.
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