Background and importance According to statistics from the World Health Organization, at least half of the world’s adult population experience headaches at least once a year. Patients suffering from headaches do not always have the opportunity to visit a doctor and therefore an important role in helping these patients is assigned to pharmacists.
Aim and objectives Based on a pharmacoepidemiological study, to identify the features of providing pharmaceutical care to patients with headaches (conversations with the patient, behaviour and knowledge of the pharmacists, priority recommendations and factors affecting them).
Material and methods A pharmacoepidemiological study was conducted, which was based on a survey of 153 pharmacists who completed a questionnaire. The data were processed using Microsoft Excel.
Results Pharmacists noted that they often had requests to recommend a headache drug (66.7%); most often the request was not defined (56.9%). More than half of the respondents (54.9%) could recommend a prescription drug; 80.4% would release a prescription drug without a prescription if there was a doctor’s instruction or a list of recommendations. The most commonly used groups of recommended drugs were (M01A) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (92.2%), analgesics in combinations (91.5%) and (N02B) non-narcotic analgesics (85.0%). Of the groups recommended for patients, international non-proprietary name (INN) of (M01A) accounted for 45.0% and INN of (N02) for 55.0%. The most recommended drugs were ibuprofen (62.8%) and a combination of drotaverin + caffeine + naproxen + paracetamol + phenylephrine (41.2%). Among the factors influencing the recommendation, the most important were contraindications (4.2±0.17), proven efficacy and safety (3.98±0.19) and the patient‘s age (3.86±0.18). When communicating with a patient, pharmacists often asked questions related to age (96.7%) and previous experience of taking drugs (83.0%), but rarely questions related to the character and duration of the headache. In most of the simulated situations (pregnancy, child, head injury, old man), pharmacists could advise on some drugs, but the choices were not always rational.
Conclusion and relevance Pharmacist’s recommendations were often associated with general factors and questions unrelated to the specifics of the headache. Also, recommendations of combined analgesics indicated an irrational choice of drug. Rational consulting algorithms are needed to improve the knowledge of pharmacists, which can help improve the quality of pharmaceutical care, and identify patients with migraines or analgesic abuse.
Conflict of interest No conflict of interest