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Role of pharmacist's counseling on folate compliance

 Department of Pharmacy Practice, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Tabuk, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Tahani S Alenazi,
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Tabuk, Tabuk
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjhs.sjhs_121_20

Background: Pregnant women's compliance with a regimen of folate supplementation is an important factor in decreasing incidence of neural tube defects (NTDs). Because effective medication counseling can be used to enhance women's compliance with folate intake, pharmacists can help ensure good pregnancy outcomes by improving women's compliance through such counseling. Objectives: To determine the effect of medication counseling delivered by pharmacists on compliance among pregnant women in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional analytical study was conducted of 360 pregnant women who attended antenatal care clinics at primary health-care centers in 2018. A well-designed questionnaire was used for data collection. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and the Chi-squared test. Results: About half of the study participants began consuming folic acid after becoming pregnant (55.8%) and only 28.6% reported preconceptional intake. The most common reason for noncompliance was forgetfulness (64.40%). Almost two-thirds of women knew the importance of taking folate in pregnancy to prevent NTDs (64.2%). Their main sources of knowledge about folic acid were doctors (35.8%) and pharmacists (25%). A significant association was found between regular folate intake and pharmacist counseling as a source of folate information. Conclusion: Almost half of pregnant women complied with their folate supplementation regimen. However, lower preconceptional intake was observed. Participants' level of awareness of the importance of folic acid supplementation for pregnant women, though adequate, was not sufficient to ensure good pregnancy outcomes. Pharmacists were identified as a valuable source of information about folic acid, with their provision of medication counseling significantly associated with regularity of folate intake.

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