The important role that community pharmacists play in providing advice about medicines has been underscored in a decision this week by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
The TGA was responding to an application to remove restrictions on the sale of clotrimazole for vaginal use.
In announcing that the current scheduling of clotrimazole is appropriate the TGA included among its reasons that:
Pharmacists are able to refer patients to doctors when appropriate. For example when patients are diabetic, under 16, over 60 years of age, pregnant, taking immunosuppressants, or when other vaginal conditions may be suspected.
Pharmacist's advice can assist in considering the patient's symptoms, treatment history, current medications and other health conditions.
Consultation with a pharmacist is also important to rule out common differential diagnoses such as bacterial vaginosis, candida vaginitis and trichomoniasis which have different first-line treatment options. The use of antifungal products in non-fungal vaginal infections is ineffective, may worsen the condition, and can delay diagnosis and commencement of appropriate therapy.