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Family physicians, counseling, information, drugs, pregnancy
Family physicians may play a significant role in providing information to their patients on the effects of medication exposure during pregnancy. Women must receive accurate information, as unrealistic perception of teratogenic risk may lead to inadequate treatment of maternal disease or termination of otherwise wanted pregnancies.
To collect data on the current practices of family physicians in providing information regarding pregnancy-related drug exposures, in particular, their confidence in providing counseling and their sources of information.
A mailed survey was sent to a random sample of family physicians in Ontario. Outcome measures included the proportion of family physicians that feel confident in providing counseling regarding drugs in pregnancy, most common resources, barriers to counseling and preferences for future educational programs.
Of the 756 surveys, 400 (53%) were returned, 265 (66%) by practicing physicians caring for women of childbearing age. Most (80.3%) felt confident in providing counseling, though a majority (56%) stated that available sources of information are not adequate. The most commonly consulted source was the Motherisk Program (62%). Lack of evidence-based information was cited as the major barrier.
Although family physicians were confident in providing counseling to pregnant patients with regards to drug use, more than one-half thought that the available sources of information are not adequate. The dissemination of more evidence-based information in this field is needed.
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