Ensuring the appropriateness of topical over-the-counter antifungal agents for clients with self-diagnosed vaginal thrush

Project Details
Project ID: 2002-004
Type: Investigator Initiated
Status: Completed
Institution: Curtin University
Chief Investigator: Peter Tenni

Project Summary

Vaginal candidiasis may be diagnosed clinically; however such diagnosis is often inaccurate. The aims of this study were to demonstrate;

  • that the use of a structured questionnaire can assist pharmacists to identify patients for whom OTC vaginal antifungal therapy is appropriate based on their symptoms,
  • and the cost-benefits of allowing pharmacists to sell such products.

The methodology employed for this project was robust. Women who presented to participating community pharmacies within a nominated metropolitan division of general practice, who wished to purchase a topical antifungal product for their personal treatment of presumed vulvovaginal candidiasis were invited to participate in the study. Study participants completed a detailed questionnaire addressing demographic data, their presenting signs and symptoms, risk factors for vulvovaginal candidiasis and / or past medical history. Those women were then referred to a participating GP who had pathology tests done to test for the presence of vulvovaginal candidiasis.

Ninety-four women aged 19 to79 years participated in the study. The project showed some very interesting results with only 39 of the 94 women (41 percent) who self diagnosed vaginal thrush actually showing a candidal infection with pathology testing.