COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS' EXPERTISE AND APPROACH TO THE SAFETY AND EFFICACY OF MEDICATIONS (HERBS AND ALLOPATHIC) THROUGHOUT THE PREGNANCY PERIOD

Main Article Content

Jehan Ara
Aneesa Sadiq
Huma Fiaz
Saima Bukhari
Faiza Shaheen
Surraya Israr
Rabia Zulfiqar
Haq Nawaz

Keywords

Pregnancy, community pharmacists, herbs, allopathic medications, safety, efficacy

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine Pakistani community pharmacists' expertise and approach regarding the safety and effectiveness of both allopathic and herbal medicines during pregnancy. During the three months of 1st November 2023 to 30th January 2024, an online questionnaire was used to conduct a cross-sectional study in multi-setting of Pakistan. SPSS version 26 was used to analyze the data. The relationship between approach scores and other continuous factors, such as age and years of experience, was examined using the Mann-Whitney U Test. There were total 185 participants. Among them, 69.1% females and 30.9% were males. In overall, 82.15 populations were having post-graduation and only 17.9% have only graduation. Data were collected from both community pharmacists and obstetrician & gynecologists. Moreover, 74.6% were having professional experience of >5 years. Most of the respondents reported inquire about the pregnancy status always (60.6%), sometimes (31.9%), and 1.1% never inquire for status.  When faced with uncertainty about drug safety, 74.6% indicated that they would refer to authentic sources, and 54.1% would advise pregnant women to consult their physicians when requesting a potentially contraindicated drug. Nearly half (51.2%) of the participants contacted the prescribing physician to explore safer options. As per study approach, 74.50% allopathic mediation and 44.60% herbs are safe to use throughout pregnancy while 17.30% allopathic mediation and 22.40% herbs are unsafe to use throughout pregnancy. A higher knowledge score was significantly associated with receiving a post-graduation degree (p= 0.002). In conclusion, the study's findings demonstrated that community pharmacists adhere to safe practices and possess expertise in utilizing drugs safely while pregnant. Higher knowledge scores were linked to post-graduation. Consequently, the survey participants felt strongly that there was a need for seminars, sessions, and educational programs focused on herbal medicines.

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