Differences in knowledge about epilepsy and antiepileptic drugs among pharmacy-dispensing workers in Cambodia and in Lao PDR.Epilepsy Behav. 2020 02; 103(Pt A):106834.EB
Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder encountered in primary care in Southeast Asia. People with epilepsy require long-term therapy management. Nonadherence to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) has been identified as a major factor in suboptimal control of epilepsy. Pharmacies offer patients a first-line point of contact with the healthcare system. Many pharmacies operate with limited or nonqualified human resources that can lead to insufficient knowledge, inappropriate supply of medicines, and insufficient counseling.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the qualification and knowledge concerning epilepsy and AEDs among pharmacy-dispensing workers who sell drugs to people with epilepsy.
A cross-sectional qualitative study was conducted in public and private pharmacies, in both urban and rural areas of Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). The knowledge was collected through a questionnaire.
A total of 180 respondents from 123 outlets in the two countries were included in this study. A proportion of 40.8% (31) of respondents in Cambodia and 38.5% (40) in Lao PDR were pharmacists, followed by sellers who did not received any healthcare training with a proportion of 18.4% (14) in Cambodia compared to 20.2% (21) in Lao PDR. Head trauma was cited as the main cause of epilepsy by 72.4% (55) in Cambodia and 27.2% (28) in Lao PDR (p < 0.001). Epilepsy was considered as a contagious disease by 6.6% (5) of respondents in Cambodia compared to 18.4% (19) in Lao PDR (p = 0.03). Eighty-seven percent (66) of respondents in Cambodia knew at least one long-term AED versus 67.3% (70) in Lao PDR (p = 0.003). Phenobarbital was mentioned in more than 90.0% of cases in both countries. In overall, 15.4% (21) thought that if seizures are controlled for some months, people with epilepsy could stop taking their AEDs. Only one respondent from Lao PDR was aware of drug-drug interaction between AEDs and oral contraception.
An educational intervention should be implemented to improve the knowledge of epilepsy and AEDs for pharmacy-dispensing workers. This could include advice for all pharmacy-dispensing workers in order to improve AED management and follow-up of therapeutic adherence.