Background: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) COPD 2004 guidelines recommend: ∗ COPD patients who smoke should be encouraged to stop at every opportunity; ∗ Inhaled corticosteroid should be used only among patients with moderate to severe COPD; ∗ Pharmacists should identify smokers and provide smoking cessation advice. The community pharmacy contract requires pharmacists to review patients' medications, creating an opportunity for reviewing the prescribing of inhaled corticosteroids in COPD. The survey explored the degree to which community pharmacists in North West England identify and provide advice to smokers and assess prescribed inhaled corticosteroids among COPD patients.
Methods: A self-completion questionnaire was sent to 2080 community pharmacists from the 2005 pharmacist census database.
Results: Of the 1051 (50.5%) respondants, 37.1% mentioned COPD as a risk from smoking most or every time and 54.5% sometimes or rarely, and 19.6% routinely asked about smoking status when dispensing COPD medication. Pharmacists with more than 20 years experience were more likely to have read the Guideline compared to pharmacists with 10 years or less (OR: 1.54; 95% CI: 1.13 to 2.10). Pharmacists who had read the NICE Guideline (46.8%) were around twice as likely to mention COPD as a risk of smoking, ask about COPD if inhaled corticosteroids were dispensed and ask about smoking routinely if COPD medication was dispensed. (p<0.005).
Conclusion: The NICE guidelines on COPD encourage community pharmacists to carry out smoking cessation and educational interventions, but further support is needed.
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