When the pharmacist talks, drug store customers seeking over-the-counter product advice listen, a survey by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) finds.


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APhA: Pharmacist OTC guidance carries weight

April 25th, 2011

WASHINGTON – When the pharmacist talks, drug store customers seeking over-the-counter product advice listen, a survey by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) finds.

APhA said Monday that according to its 2010 Over-the-Counter Product Survey, pharmacists believe that 81% of consumers buy the OTC item — a nonprescription medication or other product — that was recommended by their pharmacist.

In addition, 92% of the more than 1,000 community pharmacists polled said they walk a patient to the OTC section to assist with a product selection, and the average patient consult takes only three minutes.

The annual survey, published in APhA's Pharmacy Today journal and covering 77 product categories, tracks the OTC medicines and other products that pharmacists are recommending to patients, as well as the interactions they are having with those patients.

"With more than 100,000 nonprescription medications on the market and more than 1,000 active ingredients, it's critical that patients consult their pharmacist to maximize the benefits from medications and minimize the potential for harmful drug interaction and/or side effects," APhA stated.

Also in the survey, APhA identified the No. 1 recommended products by pharmacists in the various product categories. The top pharmacist recommendations by category included the following:

• Adult antihistamine – Claritin (32% of responding pharmacists recommended)
• Adult decongestant: Sudafed (65%)
• Adult expectorant: Mucinex/Mucinex D/Mucinex DM (75%)
• Adult headache: Tylenol (26%)
• Adult multisymptom cold/flu: Mucinex D
• Adult multivitamin: Centrum (43%)
• Antidiarrheal: Immodium A-D (58%)
• Antigas: Gas-X (33%)
• Blood glucose monitor: OneTouch (29%)
• Episodic heartburn treatment: Pepcid AC (20%)
• Frequent heartburn treatment: Prilosec OTC (64%)
• Laxative, nonfiber: Dulcolax (32%)
• Moisturizing cream: Eucerin (27%)
• Nasal decongestant, saline: Ocean (54%)
• Osteoarthritis pain, topical: Aspercreme (22%)
• Pediatric analgesic/fever reducer: Children's Advil (46%)
• Pediatric multisymptom cold/flu/allergy: Children's Dimetapp (24%)
• Therapeutic skin care: Aquaphor (22%)
• Thermal/pain care patch: ThermaCare HeatWraps (38%)
• Upset stomach/nausea treatment: Emetrol (37%)

"As the medication experts, pharmacists are trained in both prescription and over-the-counter medications and can provide patients with important information about how medications may interact with certain foods, other medicines or dietary supplements," APhA noted. "Pharmacists can help patients select products that address the patient's individual needs and to navigate their way through the various products available. Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers, and APhA encourages patients to actively seek their advice about the proper use of medications."

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