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An examination of the role of the pharmacist in the safe, effective and appropriate use of complementary medicines

Barnes, Joanne; (2001) An examination of the role of the pharmacist in the safe, effective and appropriate use of complementary medicines. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In the UK, complementary medicines (CMs), including herbal and homoeopathic products, are used extensively and increasingly by patients and the public. This pervasive use of CMs raises concerns related to patient safety which suggest that there is a public need for a health-care provider who can advise on and monitor their safe, effective and appropriate use. The aim of this thesis is to investigate, from both the users' and the pharmacists' perspectives, the potential of the pharmacist to take on such a role. The present work confirms the need for an expert adviser-monitor on CMs, and shows that pharmacists have the potential to undertake this function. Data resulting from the work show that most pharmacies sell CMs, and that users of CMs and pharmacists interact with respect to the use of these types of products. Therefore, there are opportunities for pharmacists to advise patients and the public on the safe, effective and appropriate use of CMs. Furthermore, there are ways in which pharmacists can contribute to increasing the evidence base for CMs, not only by collating current knowledge, but also by conducting community-pharmacy-based clinical research projects. However, the data raise several concerns, such as the extent of pharmacists' knowledge and training, and their professional practice regarding CMs. Pharmacists and the profession need to address these issues. Consequently, it is recommended that pharmacognosy (the study of natural products used in medicine) and areas of complementary/alternative medicine (CAM), particularly CMs, be included on the indicative syllabus for Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree programmes. Also, the training needs of practising pharmacists in these areas should be reviewed. Pharmacists should be encouraged to improve their professional practice pertaining to CMs, including reporting adverse drug reactions for herbal products. There is a corresponding need to raise public awareness of the pharmacist as a source of objective, reliable advice and information on CMs. In addition, an ongoing programme of research is suggested to clarify the area of CAM within pharmacy, and to determine the implications of CAM use for pharmaceutical care.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: An examination of the role of the pharmacist in the safe, effective and appropriate use of complementary medicines
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Health and environmental sciences; Complementary; Medicines; Pharmacist; Safe
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10105422
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