oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Availability of selected antidotes in community pharmacies in Pretoria

Volume 21, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1015-8782
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1084



Community pharmacies in Pretoria were surveyed to determine the stocking of 19 antidotes in these pharmacies and to establish the reasons/or non-availability. A cross-sectional survey of community pharmacies located in Pretoria was conducted. These pharmacies were identified through a list provided by the South African Pharmacy Council. Questionnaires were sent to all 64 pharmacies listed. Thirty (47%) of 64 questionnaires were completed by pharmacists at these pharmacies. This study found a great variability in the stocking of antidotes. Twelve (40%) out of 30 pharmacies stocked no antidotes at all. None of the pharmacies kept all antidotes, although one kept 11 (57.9%) of the 19 antidotes listed. With regard to individual antidotes, the most stocked were sodium polystyrene (67%), sodium bicarbonate (56.7%), folinic acid (50%), activated charcoal (40%), IV-acetylcysteine (33.3%), ipecacuanha (33.3%), disulfiram (33.3%), citric acid (26. 7%) and atropine (26.7%). The reasons for the unavailability of antidotes at the time of the survey were that the stock was not ordered (43.3%), the stock was ordered but not delivered from suppliers (45.0%), the previous stock had expired unused (16. 7%), and that the pharmacies were too close to hospitals which kept antidotes (40%). In conclusion, the community pharmacies surveyed kept an insufficient and inappropriate range of antidotes. There is a need for these facilities to improve their upkeep of antidotes.

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