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Background: Good patient - pharmacist communication is known to increase medication adherence among patients. Hence, it serves as a means to improve patient adherence to their medication regimen. The study was conducted to determine whether improved patient-pharmacist communication in a tertiary health institution in North Central Nigeria will increase patients' adherence to their medications. This is with the aim of evaluating four contextual cues (patient age, gender, educational status and patient question asking behavior) which may be associated with the content of patient - pharmacist communication.
Method: A pretested questionnaire was administered on the 55 pharmacists in the institution. Three hundred and sixty (360) patient-pharmacist e nco unters were recorded, investigated and analyzed. The observation was carried out within a time interval of 4 hours (11:00am — 2:00 pm) daily on Mondays through Saturdays for a period of one month. Two observational check lists were used to observe the interaction between patients and pharmacists.
Results: Forty-one (74.5%) pharmacist responded out of the 55 pharmacists. Of the 360 patients (aged 1 — 82 years, average 34.6) observed, 208 (58%) were male and 152 (42%) were female. All the patients observed received information on availability of medicine, cost and route of administration, dose and dosing frequency. Some received information on; 12 (3.3%) on health condition, 12 (3.3%) on duration of use, 11 (3.0%) on drug interactions and 8 (2.2%) on side effects. No patient received information on indication, monitoring for effectiveness, contraindication or repeat visit. Only 63 (17.5%) asked questions (22.2% and 77.85 were illiterate and literate respectively).
Conclusion: The provision of pertinent information on medications to patients by pharmacists in the tertiary health institution is generally poor. Patient asking behavior was generally unsatisfactory.
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