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Managing of oral medicines in paediatric oncology: can a handbook and a pharmaceutical counselling intervention for patients and their parents prevent knowledge deficits? A pilot study
  1. Janine Zimmer1,2,
  2. Dorothee Niemann1,
  3. Kirsten Seltmann1,
  4. Lars Fischer3,4,
  5. Holger Christiansen3,4,
  6. Roberto Frontini2,
  7. Wieland Kiess3,
  8. Martina P Neininger1,
  9. Astrid Bertsche3,
  10. Thilo Bertsche1
  1. 1Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Drug Safety Center, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  2. 2Pharmacy Department and Drug Safety Center, University Hospital Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  3. 3Department of Women and Child Health, Hospital for Children and Adolescents and Centre for Paediatric Research, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  4. 4Department of Paediatric Oncology, Haematology and Haemostaseology, Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Thilo Bertsche, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Leipzig University, Eilenburger Str 15a, Leipzig 04317, Germany; thilo.bertsche{at}


Objectives To assess knowledge deficits of patients/parents and prevention strategies.

Methods After receiving ethics approval, we performed a controlled, quasi-randomised, prospective intervention study. We enrolled patients/parents involved in managing oral medicines in three groups: control (routine care only), handbook intervention and pharmaceutical counselling intervention group. At baseline and after the interventions, we assessed patients’/parents’ knowledge deficits (incorrect or missing answers) by questionnaire.

Results We enrolled 64 patients/parents. At baseline, knowledge deficits among the groups were similar: 17% in controls, 22% in the handbook group and 24% in the pharmaceutical counselling group. After the intervention, knowledge deficits decreased to 13% in the handbook group and to 8% in the pharmaceutical counselling group (NS; p=0.003 compared with controls, respectively). For controls, knowledge deficits remained almost unchanged (19%). Results for the pharmaceutical counselling group showed a strong correlation between baseline knowledge deficits and the extent of the deficit decrease after the intervention (τ=−0.74; p<0.001), whereas no significant correlation was found in the control or handbook group.

Conclusions In paediatric oncology, patients’/parents’ knowledge of managing oral medicines was improved. Pharmaceutical counselling substantially reduced high knowledge deficits but no significant improvement was seen with the handbook approach. Pharmaceutical counselling should be offered to patients/parents with high knowledge deficits to reduce errors in managing medicines and increase safety.

  • Antineoplastic agents
  • Administration, oral
  • Parents
  • Patient education
  • Error prevention

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