Evaluation of medication reviews conducted by community pharmacists: a quantitative analysis of documented issues and recommendations

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Mar;65(3):386-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2007.03022.x. Epub 2007 Oct 8.


What is already known about this subject? There is conflicting evidence concerning the potential benefits of pharmacist-led medication review. Little work has been published on the completeness of medication reviews provided by community pharmacists. What this study adds. The 60 community pharmacists taking part in a large randomized controlled trial showed considerable variation in the completeness of the reviews they recorded for intervention patients. Overall, pharmacists recorded only a minority of the potential issues present in these patients. The frequency with which pharmacists recorded issues was not related to key characteristics or to the number of reviews completed.

Aims: To describe issues noted and recommendations made by community pharmacists during reviews of medicines and lifestyle relating to coronary heart disease (CHD), and to identify and quantify missed opportunities for making further recommendations and assess any relationships with demographic characteristics of the pharmacists providing the reviews.

Methods: All issues and recommendations noted by 60 community pharmacists during patient consultations were classified and quantified. Two independent reviewers studied a subsample of cases from every participating pharmacist and identified and classified potential issues from the available data. The findings of the pharmacists and the reviewers were compared. Relevant pharmacist characteristics were obtained from questionnaire data to determine relationships to the proportion of potential issues noted.

Results: A total of 2228 issues and 2337 recommendations were noted by the pharmacists in the 738 patients seen, a median of three per patient (interquartile range 2-4). The majority of the recommendations made (1719; 74%) related to CHD. In the subsample of 169 patients (23% of the total), the reviewers identified 1539 potential issues, of which pharmacists identified an average of 33.8% (95% confidence interval 30.1, 36.4). No relationship was found between the proportion of issues noted and potentially relevant factors such as pharmacists' characteristics and their experience of doing reviews.

Conclusions: The majority of issues and recommendations noted by pharmacists related to CHD, although pharmacists recorded only a minority of the issues identified by reviewers. Variation between pharmacists in the completeness of reviews was not explained by review or other relevant experience.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Community Pharmacy Services / classification*
  • Community Pharmacy Services / standards
  • Documentation / classification*
  • Documentation / standards
  • Drug Utilization Review / classification*
  • Drug Utilization Review / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmacists / classification*
  • Pharmacists / standards
  • Professional Role