What is known and objective: Limited and conflicting evidence exists on the effect of a multicomponent pharmaceutical care intervention (i.e. medication review, involving collaboration between general practitioners (GPs), pharmacists and patients) on medication-related hospitalizations, survival, adverse drug events (ADEs) and quality of life. We aimed to investigate the effect of a multicomponent pharmaceutical care intervention on these outcomes.
Methods: An open controlled multicentre study was conducted within primary care settings. Patients with a high risk on medication-related hospitalizations based on old age, use of five or more medicines, non-adherence and type of medication used were included. The intervention consisted of a patient interview, a review of the pharmacotherapy and the execution and follow-up evaluation of a pharmaceutical care plan. The patient's own pharmacist and GP carried out the intervention. The control group received usual care and was cared for by a GP other than the intervention GP. The primary outcome of the study was the frequency of hospital admissions related to medication within the study period of 12 months for each patient. Secondary outcomes were survival, quality of life and ADEs.
Results and discussion: 364 intervention and 310 control patients were included. Less medication-related hospital admissions were found in the intervention group (n = 6; 1·6%) than in the control group (n = 10; 3·2%) but the overall effect was not statistically significant (hazard ratio (HR) 0·50, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·12-1·59). The secondary outcomes were not statistically significantly different either. The study was underpowered, which may explain the negative results. A post hoc analysis showed that the effect of the intervention was statistically significant for patients with five diseases or more: five diseases, HR 0·28 (95% bootstrap CI: 0·056-0·73) and eight diseases, HR 0·11 (95% CI: 0·013-0·34).
What is new and conclusion: A multicomponent pharmaceutical care intervention does not prevent medication-related hospital admissions. Whether this is true for such interventions in general is unknown, because the PHARM study was underpowered. The intervention may significantly reduce medication-related hospitalizations in patients with five or more comorbidities, but this is only based on a post hoc analysis and thus needs confirmation in large controlled trials.
Keywords: medication review; medication-related hospitalizations; pharmaceutical care.
© 2013 Erasmus MC.