Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Pharmacists in the UK Ensure Safe Supply of Viagra Connect to Erectile Dysfunction Patients

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In an effort to enhance public health and ensure the safe use of Viagra Connect® (VC) for erectile dysfunction (ED) patients, the UK has implemented a national additional risk minimization measures (aRMMs) program. This initiative focuses on training pharmacists to provide appropriate advice and assess the suitability of non-prescription VC for their patients. A recent survey evaluated the program’s effectiveness, aiming to understand how well it equips pharmacists to manage and advise ED patients.

Program Implementation and Objectives

The survey employed a cross-sectional, web-based approach, targeting ED patients who had purchased at least one supply of VC in the UK. Using structured self-administered questionnaires, the study gathered data on pharmacist-patient interactions, specifically focusing on pharmacists’ inquiries about patients’ health status, comorbidities, and medications. The goal was to ensure that patients receive comprehensive advice, including lifestyle modifications and the importance of consulting a doctor for underlying conditions that may cause ED.

Survey Findings and Insights

Among the 297 participants, the majority confirmed that pharmacists asked pertinent questions about blood pressure and heart conditions (91.9%), relevant illnesses (87.9%), and medications (86.5%). Additionally, 82.2% of patients were queried about their ED diagnosis. Approximately 85.5% of patients were instructed on the correct usage of VC, while 82.2% received information on possible side effects necessitating discontinuation and medical consultation. Furthermore, around 80.1% were informed that ED could be symptomatic of other health issues.

Interestingly, the survey revealed that 65.0% of patients had either visited (19.2%) or planned to visit (45.8%) their doctor following pharmacist advice. Moreover, 68.7% reported receiving guidance on lifestyle changes to mitigate ED-related health risks. These findings underline the program’s role in facilitating better healthcare access and patient education.

Market Access and Patient Benefits

The aRMMs program’s implementation highlights the critical role pharmacies play in improving market access for non-prescription medications like VC. By ensuring that pharmacists are well-trained and capable of providing essential health advice, the program not only promotes safe medication use but also encourages broader healthcare engagement among patients.

Key Inferences

  • Pharmacists are integral in ensuring the appropriate and safe use of non-prescription medications.
  • The program effectively bridges the gap between over-the-counter medication and professional medical advice.
  • Patient education on lifestyle modifications is crucial for managing underlying conditions contributing to ED.
  • Enhanced market access to medications like VC can lead to better health outcomes and increased healthcare engagement.

In conclusion, the survey provides substantial evidence of the aRMMs program’s success in ensuring that ED patients in the UK receive proper assessment and advice when purchasing VC. This initiative underscores the importance of pharmacist training in enhancing patient safety and promoting responsible medication use, ultimately leading to improved health outcomes.

Original Article:

Patient Prefer Adherence. 2024 Jun 27;18:1345-1358. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S440339. eCollection 2024.

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ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: A national additional risk minimization measures (aRMMs) program was implemented to train pharmacists for safe supply of non-prescription Viagra Connect® (VC) to erectile dysfunction (ED) patients in United Kingdom (UK). A survey aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of aRMMs.

METHODS: A cross-sectional, web-based survey enrolled ED patients who purchased at least 1 supply of VC in UK, using a structured self-administered questionnaire. Patients were assessed for the suitability of VC and received appropriate advice from pharmacists. Descriptive statistics were used.

RESULTS: The final sample had 297 patients, who reported that pharmacists inquired about blood pressure and heart comorbidities (91.9%), relevant illnesses (87.9%), medications (86.5%), ED diagnosis (82.2%), and were advised to consult their doctor regarding ED (51.2%). Furthermore, 85.5% of patients were advised on how to take VC correctly, 82.2% on possible side effects for which they might have to discontinue taking VC and consult their doctor, 80.1% on being informed that ED could be caused by underlying conditions. About 65.0% reported that they had visited (19.2%) or planned to visit (45.8%) their doctor. A majority (68.7%) also indicated that they had received advice on lifestyle modifications to manage their ED-related health risks.

CONCLUSION: This survey provided a reasonable confirmation of the effectiveness of the VC aRMMs program and assurance that ED patients, when requesting and purchasing VC in UK pharmacies, are assessed appropriately for suitability of VC and receive the appropriate advice from pharmacists.

PMID:38957611 | PMC:PMC11217141 | DOI:10.2147/PPA.S440339

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