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Understanding knowledge skills and attitude of pharmacists towards oral calcium supplements

  • At: PPR 2022 (2022)
  • Type: Poster
  • Poster code: PM-29
  • By: JALUNDHWALA, Forum (Svkm's Nmims University)
  • Co-author(s): Forum Jalundhwala, Phd Scholar, SVKM's, NMIMS Shobhaben Pratapbhai Patel School of Pharmacy and Technology Management, India
    Vaishali Londhe, Shreenath Chemicals, India
    Juhi Thakur, Prin. K. M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy, India
    Dhriti Raisinghani

  • Abstract:

    Calcium is one of the most essential nutrient required by the body. It not only maintains bone mass, structure and quality but it is also required for cardiac regulation, nerve conduction, stimulating hormone secretion and blood clotting. Our body cannot manufacture adequate amount of calcium without external support. This is due to the fact that calcium is daily lost through hair, skin, nails, sweat, urine and feces. If this lost calcium is not replaced, the body will take it from the bones. The loss of bone calcium can increase the risk of fractures resulting from osteoporosis. This makes it crucial to balance the loss of calcium from the body. Hence, many calcium supplements are consumed. The bioavailability of calcium depends on many factors like chemical composition of calcium salt, gastric environment, which varies patient to patient and hence, the knowledge of right salt form and dosage is important to balance the calcium levels in patients.
    The primary objective of the study was to understand the knowledge skills and attitude of pharmacists towards various calcium salts used in oral supplements. The secondary objective was to find the perception of pharmacists regarding their role in managing calcium deficiency in patients.
    The study was conducted by surveying pharmacists from Mumbai region, India. A short questionnaire was administered to each pharmacists and responses were analysed. It comprised of a mix of open and close ended questions. The survey is ongoing and thus statistical analyses were not performed. Descriptive statistics are presented instead.
    Around 54.5 % responses were from community pharmacist and some from hospital inpatient and outpatient pharmacists. It was observed that majority of the calcium supplements sold were prescription medicine in combination with other vitamins. They were prescribed mainly for bone related deficiency or related ailments. The trend is not very common to prescribe calcium supplements as prophylaxis or for any other disorder like post-menopausal or neuronal treatments. Out of many salts available for calcium supplements, calcium carbonate is most widely used followed by calcium citrate and calcium citrate malate. It is also observed that pharmacists perceive variation in digestion as a key concern for bioavailability of calcium salts. Bioavailability and absorption were considered important features for distinguishing various calcium salts available in the market. 63.6 % pharmacists believe that bioavailability of calcium salts is food dependant. The pharmacists also believe that there is significant impact of quality of API on the bioavailability of calcium salt. 81.8% of the pharmacists give instructions to patients regarding the consumption of calcium supplements.
    This ongoing pilot study suggests that pharmacists need to play an active role in educating the physicians and patients for consumption of higher bioavailable calcium salts to treat calcium deficiency. Educating the correct use of calcium salt is important as ineffective salt may erode the value of calcium supplements. Additional efforts should focus on enhancing pharmacists perception in the role they play in managing calcium deficiency.

Last update 4 October 2019

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