Impact of training on pharmacists' counseling of patients starting antidepressant therapy

Sophie Liekens, Eline Vandael, Debra Roter, Susan Larson, Tim Smits, Gert Laekeman, Veerle Foulon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective: To measure the impact of a one-day depression-related training program on pharmacists' counseling of unannounced "mystery shoppers" (MS) starting antidepressant therapy. Methods: Clustered RCT pharmacies; intervention group pharmacists received communication skills training related to depression (n= 21); control pharmacists did not (n= 19). Eight months after training, the 40 community pharmacies were visited by MS with a first prescription for antidepressants. The pharmacy interactions were recorded and analyzed using the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS). Mann-Whitney U tests were used to evaluate the impact of training on pharmacy interactions and MS evaluations of the pharmacists' skills and attitudes. Results: Interactions of intervention group pharmacists were significantly longer and consisted of more education and counseling statements about lifestyle and psychosocial concerns. Intervention group pharmacists asked more questions about medical condition and therapeutic regimen, as well as socioemotional concerns. MS gave more socioemotional information to intervention group pharmacists and were more positive in their assessment of these pharmacists' skills and attitudes (p values < 0.05). Conclusion: Pharmacist training in depression care can positively affect the quality of patient care. Practice implications: Postgraduate training in depression related services is a worthwhile approach to improve the quality of pharmaceutical care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-115
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Antidepressants
  • Depression care
  • Pharmaceutical care
  • Pharmacist-patient communication
  • Pharmacists
  • RIAS
  • Roter Interaction Analysis System

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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