Drug-related problems: their structure and function

DICP. 1990 Nov;24(11):1093-7. doi: 10.1177/106002809002401114.


In order to better focus the role of the pharmacist on patient need and patient outcome, a means of categorizing drug-related problems (DRPs) is presented. A DRP exists when a patient experiences or is likely to experience either a disease or symptom having an actual or suspected relationship with drug therapy. Eight different categories of DRPs are described and examples of each category are offered. This categorization serves a number of functions, such as: (1) to illustrate how adverse drug reactions form but one category of extant DRPs, (2) to make tangible the pharmacist's role for the future, (3) to serve as a focus for developing a systematic process whereby the pharmacist contributes significantly to the overall positive outcome of patients, (4) to bring to pharmacy practice a vocabulary consistent with that of other healthcare professionals, and (5) to aid in the development of standards of practice for pharmacists.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Drug Interactions*
  • Drug Therapy
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Pharmaceutical Services / classification*
  • Pharmacists*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations