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6ER-011 An assessment of pharmacists’ confidence and behaviours in dispensing opioid medications
  1. JE Clark,
  2. B Dorman,
  3. L Harris,
  4. A Kolbrick,
  5. J Lamberti,
  6. C Piazza
  1. University of South Florida, Taneja College of Pharmacy, Tampa, USA


Background and Importance Opioid prescribing has been associated with what is described as an ‘opioid crisis’ in the United States. Pharmacists are in unique positions to offer beneficial services to promote the safe use of opioid medicines. Low confidence, knowledge, and training have been associated with barriers in providing opioid dispensing services.1

Aim and Objectives The primary aim was to investigate the association between community pharmacists’ confidence and practice behaviours in the dispensing of opioid medications.

Material and Methods A modified version of the Opioid Therapy Provider Survey was sent 178 community pharmacists between April and September 2023 to assess their confidence and behaviours in dispensing opioid medicines. Participants confidence was assessed with ten statements around counselling and advice, dispensing, abuse perception, communication with providers, and practice protocols that were measured using Spearman’s statistical correlation.

Results The study response was 28%. Staff pharmacists accounted for 35% and pharmacy managers 32% of the respondents. Thirty-five percent of the pharmacists had been in practice for more than 7 years. Forty-seven percent (47%) of the pharmacists dispensed over 30 opioid medicines per week. Ninety-one (91%) percent of the respondents felt confident in dispensing opioids in their practice. There was a strong, positive correlation between pharmacists’ comfort when: (1) following a recommended opioid dispensing protocol (rs = .593, p <.001), (2) counselling patients on side effects (rs = .480, p = .0o5, (3) information provided by pain specialists (rs = .515, p = .002). and (4) having a consistent practice approach in dispensing opioids (rs = .604, p <.001).

Conclusion and Relevance Most community pharmacists appear to feel confident in dispensing opioid medicines. There is a strong level of confidence among community pharmacists in counselling patients on opioid side effects, overdose, and antidotes. Pharmacists are most comfortable in dispensing opioids when there are management approved dispensing protocols and medical information is provided by the prescribing pain specialist.

References and/or Acknowledgements 1. Pearson AC, Moman RN, Moeschler SM, Provider confidence in opioid prescribing and chronic pain management: results of the Opioid Therapy Provider Survey. J. Pain Research 2017;10:1395–1400.

Conflict of Interest No conflict of interest.

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