Background: The consumption of some psychotropic medicines has a negative effect on the fitness to drive. Pharmacists are expected to give useful advice to patients on their participation in traffic. However, almost no information is available on this topic.
Objective: To assess the effect of training and implementation of new dispensing guidelines with regard to driving-impairing medicines, in two types of dispensing support tools. User acceptance was measured as well as the effect on pharmacists' attitudes & awareness, self-reported behaviour and knowledge.
Setting: Pharmacists from East Flanders in Belgium.
Methods: Two intervention groups and a control group participated. The intervention groups followed a training and were provided with a dispensing support tool containing information on the effect of medicines on driving ability, which was either stand-alone (USB stick) or integrated into the daily used software (ViaNova). The three groups filled out a questionnaire prior to and after the intervention period.
Main outcome measure: Answers to a pre/post-questionnaire on attitudes and awareness, self-reported behaviour, knowledge and user acceptance.
Results: Many pharmacists were already strongly interested in the topic at the beginning of the study. Positive changes in attitude, self-reported behaviour and knowledge were measured mostly in the group of pharmacists for which the information was integrated in their daily used software. These pharmacists asked significantly more about the patients' driving experience, informed them more about driving-related risk and gave more detailed information on impairing effects of medicines. The knowledge of the participating pharmacists on the topic 'medicines and driving' remained generally low. The participants acknowledge the importance of being aware of the topic medicines and driving but they report a lack of information or education. They strongly prefer a tool that integrates the information in their daily used software.
Conclusion: Dispensing support tools with information on the potential impairing effect of a medicine on the fitness to drive increases awareness, reported risk communication behaviour as well as knowledge of pharmacists on this topic. Computerised dispensing support tools are most effective when the information is integrated into the daily used dispensing software.