Objective — The purpose of the study was to examine patient receipt of, and preferences for receiving, antidepressant information.
Method/setting — The study had a cross-sectional design. Eight community pharmacies in central North Carolina participated in the study. Eighty-three English-speaking patients who were picking up antidepressant prescriptions were interviewed by a research assistant. The main outcome measures included: patient receipt of verbal antidepressant information; the number and type of educational messages contained in the written antidepressant leaflets that patients received; the percentage of patients who had a reading level below the reading level of the antidepressant information leaflet; whether patients reported reading the leaflets and how satisfied they were with the leaflets; and how patients preferred to receive antidepressant information.
Key findings — Seventeen per cent of patients did not receive verbal information about how long the medication would take to work from anyone. Only 50 per cent of patients were told what to do if a major side effect occurred. Almost 11 per cent of patients had a reading level below the level of the written pharmacy antidepressant information leaflet. Just over one-third (36 per cent) of patients preferred to receive only written antidepressant information. Less educated patients were significantly more likely to want to receive antidepressant information verbally. Of those patients who preferred to receive verbal antidepressant information or both verbal and written information, 92 per cent chose pharmacists as their first or second choice for providing them with verbal information.
Conclusion — The majority of patients taking antidepressants want to receive verbal information and view pharmacists as an important source of information. Pharmacists have the potential to improve antidepressant adherence if they take the time to educate patients verbally about their medications.