Background Antibiotics have been a breakthrough in medicine but their use is also associated with risks, one of which is the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. The misuse of antibiotics is affecting not just the individual patient but the community at large. Improving antibiotic use driven by a multidisciplinary team, including pharmacists, achieves a better clinical outcome by reducing harm to patients and decreasing potential for the emergence of antibiotic resistance.
Purpose To evaluate the pharmacist’s perception of potential antibiotic prescribing by themselves.
Material and methods A self-administered questionnaire to assess potential antibiotic prescribing by pharmacists was developed, psychometrically evaluated adopting a two-round Delphi process and disseminated to all practising pharmacists (n = 930) over a 3 month period. This tool was based on the results of a questionnaire intended for medical practitioners developed by the authors.
Results 209 pharmacists answered the questionnaire; 42% were employed in community pharmacies, 16% were locum pharmacists and 14% worked in their own private pharmacy. The majority of pharmacists (77%) were in agreement with pharmacists prescribing a selected number of antibiotics. Reasons given were that pharmacist prescribing would increase recognition of the role of pharmacists as members of the healthcare team. Protocol based prescribing was the preferred model for prescribing by 60% of pharmacists. Half of the respondents (50%) felt competent to prescribe, 34% had no opinion and 16% did not feel competent at all. Respondents (58%) claimed that attending a postgraduate specialised course for pharmacist prescribers would make pharmacists more competent to prescribe. Co-amoxiclav for an uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection is the antibiotic that most pharmacists (51%) feel confident prescribing. When pharmacists were asked whether they felt comfortable prescribing other medications rather than antibiotics, 93% answered positively, with 83% feeling mostly comfortable prescribing lactulose solution.
Conclusion Pharmacists felt competent prescribing specific antibiotics within a protocol based prescribing model. A postgraduate course for pharmacist prescribers would make them feel more comfortable to do so. Pharmacists attribute the right to prescribe as increasing the recognition of their role as part of a multidisciplinary team.
No conflict of interest.
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