Assessment of Antiretroviral Medication Knowledge: A Survey of New York State Pharmacists
Tomasz Z. Jodlowski, Donna Sym, John Conry, Tina Kanmaz,
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice
Purpose: This study was conducted to assess antiretroviral medication knowledge of pharmacists licensed in New York State.
Methods: The research project included an anonymous, voluntary, self-administered survey, and was approved by the St. John’s University Institutional Review Board. The survey was distributed to the executive directors of the New York State Council of Health-system Pharmacists, St. John’s University College of Pharmacy & Allied Health Professions’ Continuing Education Department, New York/New Jersey AIDS Education and Training Center, and the Pharmaceutical Society of the State of New York. The executive directors forwarded the survey to their members and invited them to participate only once using an electronic web-
based survey software package.
Results: Two hundred and thirty eight pharmacists responded to the survey. More than half of the pharmacists (137/238;57.6%) completed the entire survey. Questions varied greatly in correct responses. More than one third (52/137;37.9%) of pharmacists surveyed were unable to identify a serious central nervous system side effect of efavirenz and (56/137;40.9%) were unable to identify a potentially serious abacavir hypersensitivity reaction. Less than half (65/137;47.4%) correctly identified a drug interaction between the concomitant use of esomeprazole and atazanavir and a contraindication with concurrent use of simvastatin and lopinavir/ritonavir (44/137;32.1%). One-third (42/137;30.6%) did not recognize the underdosing of zidovudine/lamivudine and one-third (40/137;29%) did not correctly identify the appropriate administration of didanosine. Almost all (131/137;95.6%) were able to identify the drug interaction with concurrent use of St. John’s Wart and protease inhibitors.
Conclusion: Our research highlights the need for improved antiretroviral knowledge among pharmacists, particularly in the area of drug interactions, dosing and appropriate antiretroviral drug combination.