Pilot study published which shows early recognition of coeliac disease in community pharmacy (January 2016)

Published on: 15th May 2017 | Updated on: 28th March 2022

Coeliac UK’s pilot study, which used community pharmacies to assist in finding patients with undiagnosed coeliac disease, has been published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy.

The findings from the study indicate that if the approach was embraced by the NHS, it could speed up diagnosis and lift woefully low diagnosis rates by targeting those suffering the most common symptoms of coeliac disease for testing.  The approach also has the potential to reach people earlier and reduce the number, and therefore, the cost of repeat GP appointments.

During the six-month pilot period, trained staff from 15 participating pharmacies offered a free point of care test to patients who requested over-the-counter medicines or presented with a prescription indicated for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhoea, other gastrointestinal conditions and anaemia. During the pilot period, 551 individuals were tested and 52 (9.4%) patients were given a positive test result and advised to make an appointment with their GP.

The study concluded that community pharmacy is seen as an appropriate location for the early recognition of patients in whom coeliac disease is suspected, with a high level of reported customer and service provider satisfaction.

Further information on the project can be found on the Community Pharmacy England Services Database.

For more information on this topic please email comms.team@cpe.org.uk

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