Background Suboptimal use of medicines may lead to morbidity, mortality and increased costs. In order to reduce unnecessary patient harm, an increasing number of hospitals have implemented pharmaceutical care interventions such as medicines reviews. Some recent studies indicate a positive effect of pharmacist-led medicines reviews in hospitals, but the quality and outcome measures vary among studies. Hence there is a need to compile evidence within this area.
Purpose To identify, assess and summarise the literature investigating the effect of pharmacist-led medicines reviews in hospitalised patients.
Materials and Methods Five databases were searched from their inception to 2011: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science (including a citation search of relevant papers) and the Cochrane Library. Relevant systematic reviews and personal archives were also hand-searched for studies for inclusion. Only original research papers published in English describing pharmacist-led medicines reviews in a hospital setting including a minimum of 100 patients were included in the final assessment.
Results A total of 836 research papers were identified and 30 publications were included in the study. Twenty studies were descriptive studies while ten studies were controlled to some extent. Only six studies were randomised controlled trials. Generally, the interventions were well implemented with acceptance rates between 39–100%. The key findings indicated positive effects on quality of prescribing, quality of life, readmission rates and emergency department visits, time to readmission and costs. However, no effect on survival rates was found in addition to several other statistically insignificant results.
Conclusions Only a few papers describing pharmacist-led medicines reviews in the hospital setting were designed as randomised controlled trials and were evaluated using hard endpoints. Future research within this area should be designed using rigorous methodology and include outcome measures for patient health outcomes.
No conflict of interest.
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