Aim: To determine the nature and extent of interactions between retail pharmacists and families of infants concerned about functional gastrointestinal disorders. Methods: A 15-question online survey was developed that could be completed by retail pharmacists in approximately 5 min. This survey aimed to obtain information relating to the frequency of interactions with parents of infants seeking advice and/or information about colic, gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) or constipation in pharmacies; what recommendations and/or advice was given by the pharmacists; from where the pharmacists obtained their information and what guidelines/recommendations they would value; and demographic information. Results: A total of 362 pharmacists from every state and territory within Australia completed the survey. Conversations with parents/carers about constipation at least once a week were reported by 85% of pharmacists, with the equivalent percentages for GOR and colic both being 76%. In the case of constipation, medication was recommended in 70% of cases, and a nutritional approach was recommended in 67% of cases. Medication was recommended in 81% of cases of suspected colic, significantly greater than nutritional advice at 50%. For possible GOR, recommendations were similar, with medication being suggested in 66% and nutritional advice in 68%. GOR guidelines were the most sought after, with 42% of pharmacists placing such guidelines as their number one need. Conclusions: This survey indicates the need for greater emphasis to be given to reassurance by health-care professionals involved in the management of functional gastrointestinal disorders in infancy, as well as consideration of the construction of easily accessible, evidence-based national guidelines.
- gastro-oesophageal reflux