Objectives: Excessive consumption of alcohol is a major public health concern. The use of community pharmacies and pharmacists as sources of public health information and services is gaining greater recognition. The objective of this review was to provide an overview of the evidence on the feasibility, effectiveness and acceptability of providing community pharmacy-based services to address the excessive consumption of alcohol.
Methods: Electronic databases were searched for the period 1996-2007 to identify relevant evidence. Searches were also conducted of relevant pharmacy and addiction journals. Information was sought from key contacts in pharmacy and alcohol research. Studies were included if they were conducted in a community pharmacy setting.
Key findings: The review comprised three feasibility studies which included 14 pharmacies and 500 customers. Non-significant reductions in alcohol consumption were reported with two studies following brief interventions by pharmacists. Between 30% and 53% of pharmacy customers were identified as having hazardous or harmful drinking behaviour. Customer opinion of the pharmacy-based alcohol services was not reported.
Conclusions: There has been little empirical evaluation of the effectiveness of community pharmacy-based services for alcohol misuse. The evidence presented in this review suggests that community pharmacy-based screening is feasible. Organisations and individuals involved with tackling excessive alcohol consumption should consider the inclusion of community pharmacies and pharmacists as part of their strategies to address this problem. Large-scale studies are needed to evaluate the short- and long-term effects and cost-effectiveness of community pharmacy-based interventions to reduce excessive alcohol consumption, as well as to explore the acceptability of the service to