Thai community pharmacist involvement in weight management in primary care to improve patient’s outcomes
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Background The community pharmacist has significant potential to assist in providing health advice aimed at the improvement outcomes pertaining to weight management, however, up to now, evidence regarding its effectiveness has been inconclusive. In Thailand, community pharmacy involvement in weight management is a novel idea and therefore needs an evaluation of its effectiveness. Objective To examine essential outcomes, comparing the pharmacist’s interventions with a routine weight management service provided at a primary care unit (PCU). Setting Maha Sarakham province, Thailand. Methods A randomized controlled trial was designed involving sixty-six obese patients randomly assigned to either the control group or the experimental group. Participants in the control group received group counselling from the PCU staff as usual, while those participants in the experimental group received one-on-one advice from a community pharmacist along with the weight loss handbook for self-study. Both groups were followed up and clinical outcomes were monitored four times at weeks 0, 4, 8, and 16. Eating behaviours and knowledge about overweight and obesity were measured twice, at weeks 0 and 16. Main outcome measure Clinical outcomes included weight, waist circumference, body mass index, measured by standard medical devices. Eating behaviours were measured by the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) questionnaire. Knowledge was measured by a questionnaire focusing on the subjects’ level of understanding regarding overweight and obesity issues. Results Neither group showed improvement in clinical outcomes. The TPB average sum score significantly increased from baseline in the experimental group in terms of intention to perform healthy dieting behaviour, subjective norm, behavioural beliefs, normative beliefs, and control beliefs. (P < 0.05) In the control group, scores increased significantly from the baseline only for behavioural beliefs. (P < 0.05) Moreover, the knowledge score in experimental group increased significantly from 6.42 ± 1.94 to 8.75 ± 0.68 (P < 0.05). Conclusion Thai community pharmacists can help to improve both eating behaviour and knowledge about weight and obesity among obese patients. However, since the effect on clinical outcomes is unclear, a long-term study is still needed.
KeywordsCommunity pharmacist Obesity Overweight Primary care unit Thailand Weight management
The authors wish to thank National Health Security Office (NHSO) Thailand Fund and Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahasarakham University for research facilities and financial support. In addition, appreciation is expressed to participants, staff at the primary care unit and pharmacy students who assisted the investigation. Finally, thanks to Mr. Larry Simons and Professor Edward Moreton for editorial assistance.
National Health Security Office (NHSO) Thailand Fund supported grant through Primary Care Practice Research Unit, Mahasarakham University.
Conflicts of interest
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