Management of over-the-counter insomnia complaints in Australian community pharmacies: A standardized patient study

Kashyap, Krishneeta C., Nissen, Lisa M., Smith, Simon S., & Kyle, Greg (2014) Management of over-the-counter insomnia complaints in Australian community pharmacies: A standardized patient study. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 22(2), pp. 125-134.

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To evaluate the current management of over-the-counter (OTC) insomnia complaints in Australian community pharmacies using standardized patient methodology.


Trained standardized patients visited a sample of 100 randomly selected South East Queensland community pharmacies in June 2011. The standardized patients enacted two OTC insomnia scenarios: a direct product request (DPR) (n = 50) and a symptom-based request (SBR) (n = 50). Results of the interactions were documented immediately after each visit and evaluated using the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's WHAT STOP GO protocol as a standard comparison.

Key findings

Of all DPRs, 30% were handled entirely by the pharmacist, 70% of staff enquired about specific symptoms and 28% investigated the cause of insomnia. No staff investigated the frequency of product use. The DPR scenario resulted in a 92% supply of the requested doxylamine product (Restavit). In the SBR scenario, 18% of requests were handled entirely by the pharmacist, 58% of staff enquired about specific symptoms and 44% investigated the cause of insomnia. Staff recommended medicated products (38%), or herbal (78%) or non-drug techniques (18%). Investigation into smoking and alcohol intake was not undertaken in DPR or SBR interactions, while questioning on caffeine intake was undertaken in 2 and 14% of cases respectively. There were no significant differences found in the handling of sleep requests by pharmacists compared to pharmacy assistants.


The standardized patient methodology was a successful way to assess the community pharmacy counselling provided with OTC sleep requests and suboptimal staff responses were found when compared with recommended practice standards.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 67350
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: clinical pharmacy, clinical practice, community pharmacy, non-prescription medicines
DOI: 10.1111/ijpp.12052
ISSN: 0961-7671
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PHARMACOLOGY AND PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES (111500) > Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (111502)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Inc
Deposited On: 18 Feb 2014 02:47
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2016 01:48

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