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Knowledge, attitudes, and practices towards emergency contraceptive pills among community pharmacists and pharmacy customers: a cross-sectional study in urban Vietnam.

Contraception 2023 August 31
OBJECTIVE: To investigate Vietnamese community pharmacists and pharmacy customers' knowledge, attitudes, and practices about emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs).

STUDY DESIGN: We recruited 400 pharmacists and 396 customers via a non-probability convenience sampling technique. We used univariate and multivariate linear regression models to determine factors associated with the knowledge and attitudes towards ECPs among pharmacists and customers. We selected variables in the multivariate models through the Bayesian Model Averaging method using R software (version 4.2.3).

RESULTS: In medicine outlets, levonorgestrel and mifepristone (ECPs) were highly available. The average knowledge scores on ECPs among pharmacists and customers were 9.98±2.00 and 6.24±2.33, respectively. Many pharmacists did not have adequate knowledge of ECPs' mechanism of action, dosage, and contraindications. Customers lacked knowledge about their legislation, effectiveness, and side effects. The attitudes towards ECPs among participants were relatively positive. Reliable information sources about ECPs (such as the package leaflet, courses, and books) played an essential role in increasing ECP knowledge and attitudes (p<0.001). The availability of ECPs (p<0.001), being educated (p<0.01 and 0.01), and daily sales (p<0.001) were significantly associated with pharmacists' knowledge/attitudes. Age, education level, marital status, and occupation were significantly associated with customers' knowledge. Participants' knowledge of was significantly associated with their attitude towards ECPs (p=0.02 and p<0.001, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: The knowledge of ECPs among pharmacists was relatively good, while that of customers was poor. There is a need to have policies and interventions to enhance the knowledge and attitudes towards ECPs for both pharmacists and customers.

IMPLICATION: Community pharmacies are ideal settings to dispense contraceptive methods, especially over-the-counter ECPs. Community pharmacists can help ensure the availability of ECPs in medicine outlets, increase women's access to ECPs, and counsel customers on up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge about these medications, thereby guaranteeing rational ECP use.

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