Development and evaluation of a sugar-free medicines campaign in north east England: analysis of findings from questionnaires

Community Dent Health. 1999 Sep;16(3):131-7.


Objective: To develop a strategy for a campaign aimed at general medical practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists and to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign on (a) awareness of the role of liquid oral medicines containing sugar in dental disease and (b) changing prescribing and dispensing of sugar-containing medicines.

Design: Pre- and post-campaign questionnaires were sent to community pharmacists and GPs and following a series of qualitative interviews with them, a campaign was developed. Following post campaign questionnaires, changes due to the effects of the campaign were evaluated.

Setting: The test area was Newcastle and North Tyneside Health Authority area with Sunderland and South Tyneside Health Authority areas as control.

Interventions: An information pack followed up by a personal contact was the main form of intervention. The pack comprised a Smile for Sugar-Free Medicines leaflet used in the north west campaign, abstracts from professional journals illustrating the benefits of sugar-free medicines, local dental health information and computing information which could be used to adapt computer terminals in surgeries to display sugar-free options more prominently.

Main outcome measures: Changes in the knowledge and awareness of both pharmacists and GPs to liquid oral medicines containing sugar as assessed by questionnaires.

Results: Increased knowledge and awareness of both pharmacists and GPs to the role of liquid oral medicines containing sugar and the use of sugar-free medicines had taken place but these were not statistically significant.

Conclusion: The campaign created awareness amongst GPs and pharmacists about dental issues and it is hoped that this awareness can be built upon in future oral health promotion campaigns. However, it is likely that facilitation of sugar-free medicines use will occur only if sustained and constant reinforcement is available. The methodology used presented several difficulties in evaluating change.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control
  • England
  • Flavoring Agents / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Pharmacists / statistics & numerical data
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data
  • Program Development / methods*
  • Program Development / statistics & numerical data
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Program Evaluation / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*


  • Carbohydrates
  • Flavoring Agents