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Over-the-counter drugs for pre-menstrual syndrome: Is the pharmacist still part of the picture?

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Background: Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) includes a wide range of symptoms, affects women of reproductive age and often leads to self-diagnosis and self-medication. Many products are available from the community pharmacy for PMS symptoms without a doctor's prescription. Aims: This study aims to examine female pharmacy consumers' perceived efficacy of non-prescription products marketed for PMS and period pain, which include vitex, evening primrose oil, ibuprofen, mefenamic acid and naproxen. It also aims to quantify the pharmacist's role in product recommendation based on women's perceptions. Method: The study utilises a ten-question survey. Participants were females experiencing PMS, who were recruited from nine community pharmacies in Darwin and Palmerston, over 3 or 6 weeks, between July and October 2012. Results: A response rate of 31.3% was achieved and 45 completed questionnaires were included in the final data analysis. Among the participants, the most commonly used non-prescription products were the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (83%). Only 22% of reported recommendations were made by a pharmacist. Conclusion: PMS is a condition which consumers often choose to treat with non-prescription products; however, their choice of product does not always reflect the symptoms experienced. Pharmacists did not appear to play a major role in product recommendation, and the role of pharmacists might have been minimised owing to the sensitive nature of the condition at hand.




El-Den, S., & Yee, K. C. (2014). Over-the-counter drugs for pre-menstrual syndrome: Is the pharmacist still part of the picture? Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research, 44(4), 224–230.

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