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J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2003 Sep-Oct;43(5):602-11.

Pharmacists' personal use, professional practice behaviors, and perceptions regarding herbal and other natural products.

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1
College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota, 7-159 Weaver-Densford Hall, 308 Harvard Street, SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To characterize pharmacists' personal and family use of, professional practice behaviors regarding, and perceptions of herbal and other natural products (H/NPs), and to ascertain whether these characteristics differ by pharmacists' education, practice setting, and other demographic characteristics.

DESIGN:

Descriptive study.

SETTING:

Minnesota.

INTERVENTION:

Cross-sectional questionnaire mailed in June 2000.

PARTICIPANTS:

A random sample of 1,017 pharmacists with active Minnesota licenses.

RESULTS:

Of the 533 respondents, 282 (53%) reported personal use of H/NPs, and 240 (45%) reported having recommended H/NPs to a family member. Pharmacists working in community/outpatient settings and pharmacists living in nonurban areas were more likely to report H/NP use. Patients' requests, consumer demand, manufacturer's reputation, and manufacturer's ability to provide product quality data were key factors influencing respondents' decisions to purchase and stock H/NPs in the pharmacy. Trade journals/professional newsletters, continuing education coursework, reference texts, and reports of randomized clinical trials were considered very important sources of information about H/NPs. However, almost all respondents (95%) felt available information on H/NPs was "not adequate" or only "somewhat adequate." Half the pharmacists (51%) believed that H/NPs were safe, but only 19% believed they were effective. Slightly more than half of the respondents (56%) reported suggesting to a patient that he or she try an H/NP. The amount of government oversight of H/NPs was considered "not adequate" by 78% of pharmacists. On average, pharmacists reported that patients ask them questions regarding H/NPs 7 times per 40-hour workweek; other health care practitioners ask an average of 1.3 times per week.

CONCLUSION:

Pharmacists' personal use of H/NPs is as high or higher than that of other groups of Americans, and they use similar products. Decisions to stock H/NPs in a pharmacy are influenced by consumer demand and concern for product quality. Pharmacists desire more information on H/NPs and more government oversight of these products, and pharmacists are increasingly being sought out as sources of information regarding H/NPs.

PMID:
14626753
DOI:
10.1331/154434503322452247
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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