To develop and test the long-term feasibility of an interdisciplinary independent drug information service providing both written and oral drug information to physicians in an urban area of Sweden (> 400,000 inhabitants).
A drug information service was developed encouraging a cooperative approach between a department of clinical pharmacology, general practitioners (GPs), pharmacists, and Drug and Therapeutic Committees. Scientifically-based drug information was condensed and interpreted by a team and presented in both written and oral form. In one part of the area, both oral and written information was provided, while in another part of the area, only written information was distributed. Questionnaires and one prescription survey were performed to elucidate the knowledge and attitudes of the GPs regarding drug treatment of one condition (urinary tract infection, UTI, and norfloxacin were used as examples), as well as their opinion of our services.
Over a period of 10 years, 75 issues of a drug bulletin (2000 copies) were distributed. Oral producer-independent drug information, provided jointly by a GP and a pharmacist, was given on 16 occasions in each of 30 health centres (150 GPs). Around 80% of the GPs participated in the meetings. Of these GPs, 75% found the service important for their daily work. A majority of the GPs had prescribed the test drug, norfloxacin, not a first-line drug according to local recommendations, 1 year after approval. A significantly lower proportion of prescribers were observed in the area where the GPs had been provided with both written and oral information regarding recommended treatment (including first-line drugs) for uncomplicated cystitis. The approximate cost for this service in 1995 was SEK 0.685 million (USD 0.1 million); the prescribing costs of the 150 GPs were estimated at SEK 255 million per year. This means that the cost of the service per GP is only around 0.3% of normal prescribing costs.
Over a period of 10 years the information/education method described here has proven sustainable and feasible in terms of providing the information, regarding participation of the target group GPs in the oral sessions, and regarding integration of the service into the existing health care system.
The information needs of a group of patients taking antihypertensive medication were assessed with special emphasis on the influence of perceived symptoms of high blood pressure and adverse drug effects. All patients of a hypertension clinic currently on antihypertensive medication were included in the study. The response rate to the questionnaire was 85%. Of the 623 patients included, only 31% expressed satisfaction with the amount of information received on adverse effects of their antihypertensive drugs. Patients younger than 50 years explicitly expressed a need for information more often than those older than 64. There were no differences in the expressed information needs between men and women. The reported experience of symptoms related to high blood pressure and adverse drug effects was more common among younger patients than among the elderly. Of those who experienced both adverse drug effects and symptoms, 57% expressed a need for more information, whereas only 30% of those who had no such experiences expressed a need for more information on adverse drug effects. It was concluded that there is a substantial need for more information on adverse drug effects, especially among those who have experienced adverse drug effects or some symptoms of hypertension.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Safety regarding use in pregnancy is not established for many drugs. Inconsistencies between sources providing drug information can give rise to confusion with possible therapeutic consequences. Therefore, it is important to measure clinically important differences between drug information sources. The objective of this study was to compare two easily accessible Norwegian sources providing advice on drug safety in pregnancy - the product monographs in the Felleskatalog (FK), published by the pharmaceutical companies, and the five regional Drug Information Centres (DICs) in Norway - in addition to assessing the frequency of questions regarding drug safety in pregnancy made to the DICs according to the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification system. METHODS: Advice on drug use in pregnancy provided by the DICs in 2003 and 2005 were compared with advice in the product monographs for the respective drugs in the FK. Comparison of advice was based on categorization to one of four categories: can be used, benefit-risk assessment, should not be used, or no available information. RESULTS: A total of 443 drug advice were categorized. Seven out of ten of drugs frequently enquired about, according to the ATC system, were drugs acting on the nervous system (group N). For 208 (47%) of the drugs, advice differed between the DICs and FK. Advice from the FK was significantly (p