The widespread use of complementary medicines (CMs) within the general community, the health benefits and risks, and the role of pharmacists as advocates of appropriate use of medicines make it imperative to identify how pharmacists meet customers CM information needs and lead quality use of medicine practices in regards to CMs within the pharmacy setting. A self-administered questionnaire was completed by 736 Australian pharmacists as part of a larger study on the use of CM within pharmacy practice. Personal use of CMs was common (76%). Most pharmacists saw CM counselling as their professional obligation, however, mainly regarding safety aspects. Only 24% of pharmacists always asked customers presenting with prescription medicines about concomitant CM use. Only 34% of pharmacists personally recommended CMs and less than 20% notified the respective Australian agency about an adverse drug reaction. On average, pharmacists only achieved about 50% of the knowledge score in a CM knowledge test on clinically proven benefit of CMs and CM-drug interactions. Most pharmacists supported undergraduate (76%) and additional CM education for pharmacists (85%). Many differences between hospital and community pharmacists, pharmacists working in pharmacies with or without an employed naturopath and pharmacists with and without CM training were noted and discussed.
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