Clinical pharmacy services and solid organ transplantation: a literature review

Pharm World Sci. 2010 Feb;32(1):7-18. doi: 10.1007/s11096-009-9351-7. Epub 2009 Dec 11.


Aim of the review: Organ transplantation represents the therapy of choice for most types of end-stage organ failure, and post-transplant patient care warrants great attention. The aim of this study was to summarise the available evidence regarding the role and impact of clinical pharmacy services in the care of solid organ transplant patients.

Methods: A search of the literature was conducted using the MEDLINE, EMBASE and IPA databases to identify studies relevant to our investigation of the impact of clinical pharmacists' interventions.

Results: Only five out of nineteen of the included studies were randomised controlled trials; eleven studies were descriptive, and three were before-after studies. Interventions performed in these studies consisted of routine clinical pharmacy services with a focus on identifying, resolving and preventing drug-related problems; clinical pharmacy services with a focus on therapeutic drug monitoring; and those with a focus on compliance enhancement and educational interventions. The number and type of interventions and the physicians' acceptance rates were assessed in the majority of the included studies. Acceptance rates were generally above 95%, and most studies reported that clinical pharmacy services had a positive impact on the care of solid organ transplant patients. Positive perceptions of patients and health care professionals are also reported. In two of the studies, patients' compliance rates and drug knowledge were assessed following counselling by a pharmacist. Dosing-related interventions were the most common interventions proposed. Immunosuppressants, cardiovascular drugs and antimicrobials were the drug classes most affected by the clinical pharmacists' interventions.

Conclusions: High quality evidence that supports the benefit of clinical pharmacy services in the care of solid organ transplant patients is rare. Nevertheless, all of the included studies showed that clinical pharmacy services had a positive impact. Furthermore, all included studies showed that patients and physicians appreciated clinical pharmacists. The various outcome measures used in these studies were improved by interactions with clinical pharmacists. More randomised controlled trials are needed to contribute to the paucity of the existing evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pharmacists* / psychology
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital*
  • Professional Role* / psychology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents