Implementation of a clinical tool to assess and address pain management requests in the pharmacy Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:Morbidity and mortality associated with inappropriate use of over-the-counter combination analgesics containing codeine (OTC CACC) in Australia resulted in it being upscheduled in 2010 from "Pharmacy Only" (Schedule 2) to "Pharmacist Only" (Schedule 3), and further to "Prescription Only" (Schedule 4) in February 2018. There have been a number of concerns and challenges identified by community pharmacists in the provision of OTC CACC. In practice, sub-optimal management of patients accessing these medications has been demonstrated. To assist the management of patients using OTC CACC, the development of a management and referral pathway would be advantageous. OBJECTIVES:To evaluate the use of an online interactive clinical tool and/or clinical information via an online PDF-based platform for managing OTC CACC requests and codeine dependence. METHOD:Two interactive online clinical tools to aid management of patients who presented requesting OTC CACC were developed. Evaluation of these tools was undertaken using responses to multiple choice questions and feedback from pharmacist surveys. RESULTS:Of the 904 pharmacists who responded to the evaluation survey, 66.7% had not used the tool in the preceding 12 months. The most common reason why pharmacists did not access either the online interactive, or online PDF clinical tools was that they had no knowledge of them. Older age of the pharmacist (50 years or older compared to younger than 30) predicted tool access (adjusted proportional odds ratio = 3.16, 95% CI 1.72-5.80, p < 0.001). The access of the tool was positively associated with it being perceived as useful (adjusted odds ratio = 14.7, 95% CI 6.7-32.5, p < 0.001). CONCLUSION:A number of pharmacists participating in the evaluation had never accessed either the online interactive or online PDF clinical tool, as they were not aware of them. Further research needs to be conducted into how to best promote and increase awareness of online clinical tools to pharmacists, especially younger pharmacists, and determine the best way to integrate online clinical tools effectively and efficiently into current practice.

publication date

  • 2019