1. Ryerson University, Toronto, ON
2. School of Nursing, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL, A1B 3V6. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 3. The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, Toronto, ON
4. University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
OBJECTIVE: To describe: the key factors affecting women's initial decision to explore the use of bioidentical hormones; where women gather their information on bioidentical hormones; the enablers and barriers to obtaining bioidentical hormones; and how to improve the BHRT access path. DESIGN: An exploratory qualitative study.
SETTING: One compounding pharmacy in a large urban area in southern Ontario. PARTICIPANTS: Four postmenopausal women who self-identified as users of BHRT and with comprehensive provincial health care coverage between the ages of 46 and 72. Participants were recruited at a compounding pharmacy with the use of tri-fold brochures, tear-sheet and posters. METHOD: Women participated in an audio-taped mini focus group. Discussion was guided by six open-ended questions. Verbatim quotes were analyzed using an affinity diagram. MAIN FINDINGS: Participants identified three key factors related to their initial decision: 1) symptoms unalleviated by synthetic HRT; 2) side effects from synthetic HRT; and 3) personal preference. They obtained information and support from many sources including: family/friends; publications (books, brochures, wellness newsletters, websites); and specialists in menopausal health. Once participants had made a decision, they obtained a prescription and accessed BHRT at a compounding pharmacy. Knowledgeable primary care physicians and compounding pharmacists were seen as enablers. Lack of support/ information and costs were identified as barriers. Improvements to the BHRT access path were suggested. CONCLUSION: The results of this study...