Counselling for Chronic Insomnia in Swiss Pharmacies: A Survey Study Based on Case Vignettes.

Mulder, Fanny; Löwinger, Dimitri; Jenkinson, Stephen P; Kaiser, Estelle; Scharf, Tamara; Maire, Micheline; Duss, Simone; Bassetti, Claudio; Heinzer, Raphaël; Auer, Reto; Meyer-Massetti, Carla (2023). Counselling for Chronic Insomnia in Swiss Pharmacies: A Survey Study Based on Case Vignettes. Pharmacy, 11(3), p. 105. MDPI 10.3390/pharmacy11030105

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(1) Introduction: Chronic insomnia (CI) reduces quality of life and may trigger depression and cardiovascular diseases. The European Sleep Research Society recommends cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT-I) as the first-line treatment. Because a recent study in Switzerland demonstrated that this recommendation was inconsistently followed by primary care physicians, we hypothesised that pharmacists also deviate from these guidelines. The aim of this study is to describe current treatment practices for CI recommended by pharmacists in Switzerland, compare them to guidelines and examine their attitudes towards CBT-I. (2) Methods: A structured survey was sent to all the members of the Swiss Pharmacists Association, containing three clinical vignettes describing typical CI pharmacy clients. Treatments had to be prioritised. The prevalence of CI, and the pharmacists' knowledge and interest in CBT-I were assessed. (3) Results: Of 1523 pharmacies, 123 pharmacists (8%) completed the survey. Despite large variations, valerian (96%), relaxation therapy (94%) and other phytotherapies (85%) were most recommended. Although most pharmacists did not know about CBT-I (72%) and only 10% had recommended it, most were very interested (64%) in education. Missing financial compensation hampers the recommendation of CBT-I. (4) Conclusions: Contrary to existing European guidelines, community pharmacists in Switzerland mostly recommended valerian, relaxation therapy and other phytotherapies for treating CI. This might be connected to the client's expectation of pharmacy services, e.g., medication dispensing. While pharmacists recommend sleep hygiene regularly, most did not know of CBT-I as an overarching concept but were willing to learn. Future studies should test the effects of dedicated training about CI and changes in the financial compensation for counselling for CI in pharmacies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Clinic of General Internal Medicine

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Health Sciences (GHS)

UniBE Contributor:

Mulder, Fanny, Löwinger, Dimitri Manuel, Jenkinson, Stephen Philip, Kaiser, Estelle, Scharf, Tamara, Maire, Micheline Célia Dina, Duss, Simone, Bassetti, Claudio L.A., Auer, Reto, Meyer-Massetti, Carla Verena


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

28 Jun 2023 08:50

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2023 11:28

Publisher DOI:


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Uncontrolled Keywords:

cognitive behavioural therapy insomnia sleep sleep disorder sleep hygiene survey study




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