The impact of clinical pharmacists' consultations on physicians' geriatric drug prescribing. A randomized controlled trial

Med Care. 1992 Jul;30(7):646-58. doi: 10.1097/00005650-199207000-00006.


The impact of clinical pharmacists' consultations on geriatric drug prescribing was studied in a prospective randomized controlled trial of patients 65 years of age and over discharged on 3 or more medications for chronic conditions from a 450-bed community hospital. The pharmacists provided consultation to experimental patients and their physicians at hospital discharge and at periodic intervals for 3 months postdischarge. Using a standardized tool, a physician-pharmacist panel, blinded to study group assignment of patients, evaluated the appropriateness of prescribing for a random sample of 236 patients. Eighty-eight percent had at least one or more clinically significant drug problems, and 22% had at least one potentially serious and life-threatening problem. Drug-therapy problems were divided into six categories: 1) inappropriate choice of therapy; 2) dosage; 3) schedule; 4) drug-drug interactions; 5) therapeutic duplication; and 6) allergy. Experimental patients were less likely to have one or more prescribing problems in any of the categories (P = 0.05) or in the appropriateness (P = 0.02) or dosage (P = 0.05) categories. A summary score, measuring the appropriateness of the patient's total drug regimen, indicated that experimental patients' regimens were more appropriate than those of controls (P = 0.01). Results of this trial reveal that clinical pharmacists can improve the appropriateness of geriatric drug prescribing in outpatient settings.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Drug Prescriptions* / standards
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Community
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Outpatients
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • San Francisco