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Purpose. Policies on the use of dietary supplements in acute care facilities were studied.
Methods. A national online survey was conducted in 2004 to determine institutional policies and practices related to the use of dietary supplements. Directors of pharmacy in acute care settings were asked about the role of the pharmacy and therapeutics committee, the use of a nonformulary request process, the use of informed consent, requirements for written orders, mechanisms to identify dietary supplements, recording of supplement use in the pharmacy database, recording of supplement use in the medication administration record, prohibitions on dietary supplement use, storage of dietary supplements, reporting of adverse events, and the use of published references.
Results. Usable responses were received from 302 (25.4%) of 1189 pharmacy directors. Policies on dietary supplements were developed and implemented in 62% of facilities, with 38% of respondents indicating that no such policy existed. Policies most commonly required a written order by an authorized prescriber, documentation of use in the medication administration record, and a mechanism for identification of dietary supplements by a health care practitioner prior to use. Thirty percent of respondents with policies reported that they prohibited dietary supplement use, and 9% of those without policies prohibited use in practice. Most institutions allowed the use of a patient’s own supply of supplements if ordered by an authorized prescriber. Supplements were most commonly stored at the nurses’ station or in a patient drawer. The most commonly used reference was the Internet. Pharmacists had concerns about the consistency of dietary supplement formulations, the lack of FDA review of supplements, and the difficulty of identifying supplements and distinguishing reputable manufacturers.
Conclusion. A survey of pharmacy directors in acute care facilities revealed that many had no formal policy regarding dietary supplements and had not implemented planning for such a policy.
- Control, quality
- Data collection
- Drugs, adverse reactions
- Medication orders
- Pharmacy and therapeutics committee
- Pharmacy, institutional, hospital
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