Pharmacist and Student Knowledge and Perceptions of Herbal Supplements and Natural Products.

Pharmacy (Basel, Switzerland)(2023)

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We aimed to collect parallel perspectives from pharmacists and pharmacy students on their use, knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions about herbal supplements/natural products. Two cross-sectional descriptive survey questionnaires-one focusing on pharmacists and the other focusing on pharmacy students-were administered from March to June 2021 via Qualtrics. The surveys were sent out to preceptor pharmacists and pharmacy students currently enrolled at a single U.S. school of pharmacy. The questionnaires were composed of five main sections, including (1) demographics; (2) attitudes/perceptions; (3) educational experience; (4) resource availability; and (5) objective knowledge of herbal supplements/natural products. Data analysis primarily utilized descriptive statistics with relevant comparisons across domains. A total of 73 pharmacists and 92 pharmacy students participated, with response rates of 8.8% and 19.3%, respectively. A total of 59.2% of pharmacists and 50% of pharmacy students stated they personally used herbal supplements/natural products. Most respondents (>95% for both groups) considered vitamins/minerals safe, although a lower percentage agreed on this for herbal supplements/natural products (60% and 79.3% for pharmacists and pharmacy students, respectively). Patient inquiries in the pharmacy setting were most seen for vitamin D, zinc, cannabidiol, and omega-3. A total of 34.2% of pharmacists reported having training in herbal supplements/natural products as a required part of their Pharm.D. training, and 89.1% of pharmacy students desired to learn more. The median score on the objective knowledge quiz was 50% for pharmacists and 45% for pharmacy students. Ultimately, herbal supplements/natural products are recognized by pharmacists/pharmacy students as a consistent and embedded part of pharmacy practice, although there is a need to enhance knowledge and skills in this area.
herbal supplements, natural medicine, holistic health, integrative health, pharmacists' perceptions, pharmacy student perceptions
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