New Zealand pharmacists support OTC trimethoprim prescribing

Pharmacists in New Zealand who are allowed to give women with uncomplicated cystitis a three-day supply of trimethoprim say patients appreciate the improved access to treatment.

Molecular structure of trimethoprim

Proposals to reclassify trimethoprim as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug in the UK have previously been withdrawn owing to concerns about antimicrobial resistance. However, in New Zealand, specially trained pharmacists have been allowed to provide a three-day supply to women with uncomplicated cystitis since 2012.

To explore pharmacists’ views on the reclassification, a team from the University of Otago interviewed 28 pharmacists who had completed the relevant training.

The researchers found that pharmacists were generally positive about their experience of providing OTC trimethoprim and reported that patients also appreciated the improved access to therapy. However, some pharmacists had received a mixed response from other healthcare professionals (HCPs).

Reporting in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
(online, 10 November 2016), the team says the results show the feasibility of OTC trimethoprim but better engagement with other HCPs and patients could help maximise the use of pharmacists’ clinical skills in this area.


[1] Braund R, Henderson E, McNab E et al. Pharmacist-only trimethoprim: pharmacist satisfaction on their training and the impact on their practice. Int J Clin Pharm 2016. doi: 10.1007/s11096-016-0388-0

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, December 2016, Vol 8, No 12;8(12):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20202020

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