Publication : Patient perspectives on the role of community pharmacists for antidepressant treatment : a qualitative study
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Objectives : Patients prescribed antidepressant drug treatment (ADT) for major depression report several needs in relation to their treatment, and a large proportion of these patients will end ADT prematurely. Community pharmacists may play an important role in monitoring ADT and supporting these patients. However, little is known about patient experiences of the services provided in community pharmacies. The objectives of this study were to 1) explore patients’ experiences with the services community pharmacists provide for ADT and 2) identify potential avenues for improvement of pharmacists’ services within the context of ADT. Methods : A qualitative descriptive exploratory study was conducted among individuals diagnosed with major depression who had initiated ADT at some point in the 12 months prior to their participation in the study. A total of 14 persons recruited in a local health centre and a community-based organization participated in individual interviews. A thematic analysis of the interview transcripts was conducted.
Results : Pharmacists tend to concentrate their involvement in treatment at initiation and at the first refill when questions, uncertainties and side effects are major issues. Patients felt that the pharmacists’ contributions consisted of providing information and reassurance; in these respects, their needs were met. Participants had few ideas as to what additional services pharmacists could implement to improve patients’ experience with ADT. Patients’ sole expectations were that pharmacists extend this information role to the whole length of the treatment and enhance the confidentiality of discussions in pharmacy.
Conclusion : Pharmacists should provide counselling throughout the entire treatment rather than passively waiting for patients to ask their questions. However, facilitation of open discussions may not be achieved unless confidentiality at pharmacies is secured.