BACKGROUND: Corticosteroids (CS) are essential drugs in the treatment of several medical conditions. Assuming different roles, physicians and pharmacists play a primary role in prescribing and dispensing these medications to optimize patients' clinical management. The data on assessing knowledge and experience of healthcare professionals toward CS is scarce. Therefore, this study aimed to assess and compare knowledge, experience, and fears towards CS among Egyptian physicians and pharmacists.
METHODS: A cross-sectional, self-administrated, validated online questionnaire was used to collect the data from Egyptian healthcare professionals. The questionnaire consisted of four sections with multiple choice questions: sociodemographic (7 questions), knowledge about CS (13 questions), experience with CS prescription/dispensing (5 questions), and fears and preferences toward CS prescription/dispensing (13 questions). Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data.
RESULTS: A total of 600 responses were analyzed in this study. The study sample was almost two-half of healthcare providers: 303 (50.5%) pharmacists and 297 (49.5%) physicians. Pharmacists had marginally higher knowledge scores as compared to those recorded for physicians (11.29 versus 10.16, respectively; P = 0.047). Physicians had more experience choosing corticosteroids in treatment plans based on their experience (51.8% vs 38.5%) and guideline recommendations (72.8% vs 50.9%) than pharmacists. However, pharmacists had more experience dealing with corticosteroid use based on patients' preferences (19.5% vs 4.9%) and showed a broader scope of experiencing side effects of corticosteroids with their patients. The two professions demonstrated high levels of fear, with pharmacists acknowledging significantly lower concerns about CS than physicians (3.72 versus 4.0, respectively; P = 0.003).
CONCLUSION: Discrepancies exist among healthcare professionals in knowledge and experience, favoring better scientific knowledge of pharmacists related to corticosteroids. Based on these findings, the interprofessional collaborative efforts would provide comprehensive, patient-centered care that maximizes the benefits of CS while minimizing their risks.
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