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Oxford trial asks pharmacies to refer possible Covid patients

Community pharmacy teams are being asked to signpost patients to PRINCIPLE, a nationwide trial run by Oxford University.

PRINCIPLE is calling on pharmacy teams to refer patients with suspected or confirmed SARS-COV-2 infection in order to test the efficacy of a range of treatments in non-hospitalised patients. It is currently evaluating whether the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline offer any additional benefit to usual care alone. Treatment arms may be stopped, replaced or added while the trial is ongoing.

Patients are eligible to take part in the trial if they have Covid-like symptoms and are either 50 or over with a comorbidity, or 65 and over with or without a comorbidity.

Pharmacy teams are invited to signpost eligible patients to the trial website and to display a poster in the pharmacy which can be ordered online.

The trial is described as the “only truly national trial of treatments for Covid-19 in the community” and is endorsed by all four of the UK’s chief medical officers.

A statement from Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences said: “We appreciate how much pharmacists play a key part in the health and wellbeing of their local communities.

“Ensuring those affected by Covid-19 have the opportunity to contribute to PRINCIPLE is an excellent service that we can offer patients, and adds great value to our clinical discipline and delivery of world-class, evidence base practice to improve health outcomes.”

There are four signatories to the Nuffield statement, including pharmacist Professor Mahendra Patel, a fellow of NICE and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

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