[ Pharmaceutical Sciences Asia - ONLINE ]
E-ISSN 2586-8470
[ Journal Abbreviation: Pharm.Sci.Asia ]
Mahidol University Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  FORMER NAME   "Mahidol University Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences" Published Since 1974


DOI: 10.29090/psa.2022.04.21.122Pharm Sci Asia 2022; 49(4), 340-348

Impact of a pharmacist-led palliative care education program focused on the appropriate use of opioids in Vietnam

Trang Nguyen1*, Christine Do2, Annie L Vong3, Thuy Hong Do2, Camilla Farrell4, Trang Dang1,5, The Than6, Duong Le6, Khoa Duong7

1 Department of Pharmacy, University Medical Centre at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
2 Department of Pharmacy, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
3 Department of Pharmacy, Atrius Health, Watertown, Massachusetts, USA
4 Pfizer Inc, Andover, Massachusetts, USA
5 Department of Pharmacy, University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
6 Department of Palliative Care, University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
7 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Providing palliative care service involves ensuring adequate pain control, which may necessitate the use of opioids. Vietnam has a long history of limited availability of opioids, resulting in healthcare providers’ inexperience and discomfort with prescribing them. This leads to unnecessary patients suffering due to undertreatment of pain. This cross-sectional study examined the impact of the first pharmacist-led online education program in a university hospital in Vietnam on learners’ knowledge and perceived confidence in managing opioids for analgesia in the palliative care setting. Participants filled out a voluntary survey utilizing a five-point Likert scale, within one week of completing the program. We used descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression models to analyze the data. Of the 480 participants enrolled, 28.3% completed the post-course survey. On a scale of 1 to 5, participants reported positive scores in all endpoints, with a mean score ranging from 3.57±0.99 to 3.96±0.83. Significant improvement was seen in confidence with using opioids after the course (p<0.001). Increased confidence was positively correlated with improvement in knowledge of palliative care (p=0.035), weighing the benefits versus risks of using opioids (p=0.044), and recognizing of barriers to opioid accessibility (p=0.032). The program resulted in high satisfaction in the quality of the education, with a mean score of 4.44±0.66. In conclusion, an online palliative care education program focused on the safe and effective use of opioids in the palliative care setting was significantly effective at improving knowledge and confidence among Vietnamese healthcare providers.


Palliative care, Vietnam, Opioids, Pharmacist

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