Introduction: The role of the community pharmacist has become more relevant in the context of the restrictions derived from the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of the study was to identify the type of pharmaceutical indication in the consultation for diarrhea and constipation during this period.
Material and methods: An observational, cross-sectional, multicenter, and nationwide study was designed. Community pharmacists registered in the Medynet database, were invited to participate. From this database, community pharmacists were selected, stratifying by autonomous communities and rural or urban population. The study population was users who visited community pharmacies from January to June 2021 for constipation and diarrhea.
Results: A total of 121 pharmacists recruited 849 patients (49.7% because of diarrhea and 50.3% because of constipation). A total of 83.5% of pharmacists considered that they had attended a greater number of consultations for digestive symptoms, but without reaching twice as much as before the pandemic. In patients with diarrhea, diet (76.9%) and oral rehydration solution (64.2%) were the most frequent indications, whereas an increase in water intake (86.9%), diet (84.1%), and the indication of some over-the-counter medication (68.1%) were common in patients with constipation. More than 80% of consultations were resolved without the need for a referral to the physician.
Conclusion: The present study reinforces the prominent role of the community pharmacist as a first-line professional, providing personalized pharmaceutical indications to patients with diarrhea or constipation, and contributing substantially to the efficiency and sustainability of the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.