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A randomized trial evaluating 2 approaches for promoting pharmacy-based referrals to the tobacco quitline: methods and baseline findings.

Zillich AJ, Corelli RL, Zbikowski SM, Magnusson LB, Fenlon CM, Prokhorov AV, de Moor C, Hudmon KS. A randomized trial evaluating 2 approaches for promoting pharmacy-based referrals to the tobacco quitline: methods and baseline findings. Research in social & administrative pharmacy : RSAP. 2013 Jan 1; 9(1):27-36.

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BACKGROUND: Despite the fact that individuals who smoke are at an increased risk for disease and therefore require frequent visits to pharmacies for medications, most community pharmacies do not integrate tobacco cessation activities into routine practice. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this report is to describe the methods and baseline findings for a 2-state randomized trial evaluating 2 intervention approaches for increasing pharmacy-based referrals to their state's tobacco quitline. METHODS: Participating community pharmacies in Connecticut (n = 32) and Washington (n = 32) were randomized to receive either (1) on-site education with an academic detailer, describing methods for implementing brief interventions with patients and providing referrals to the tobacco quitline or (2) quitline materials delivered by mail. Both interventions advocated for pharmacy personnel to ask about tobacco use, advise patients who smoke to quit, and refer patients to the tobacco quitline for additional assistance with quitting. Study outcome measures include the number of quitline registrants who are referred by pharmacies (before and during the intervention period), the number of quitline materials distributed to patients, and self-reported behavior of cessation counseling and quitline referrals, assessed using written surveys completed by pharmacy personnel (pharmacists, technicians). RESULTS: Pharmacists (n = 124) and pharmacy technicians (n = 127), representing 64 participating pharmacies with equal numbers of retail chain and independently owned pharmacies, participated in the study. Most pharmacists (67%) and half of pharmacy technicians (50%) indicated that they were not at all familiar with the tobacco quitline. During the baseline (preintervention) monitoring period, the quitline registered 120 patients (18 in Connecticut and 102 in Washington) who reported that they heard about the quitline from a pharmacy. CONCLUSION: Novel tobacco intervention approaches are needed to capitalize on the community pharmacy's frequent interface with tobacco users, and these approaches need to be evaluated to estimate their effectiveness. Widespread implementation of brief, yet feasible, pharmacy-based tobacco cessation efforts that generate referrals to a tobacco quitline could have a substantial impact on the prevalence of tobacco use.

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