Pharmacist-led medication review in community settings: An overview of systematic reviews

Res Social Adm Pharm. 2017 Jul-Aug;13(4):661-685. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2016.08.005. Epub 2016 Aug 28.


Background: Pharmacist-led medication review is a collaborative service which aims to identify and resolve medication-related problems.

Objective: To critically evaluate published systematic reviews relevant to pharmacist-led medication reviews in community settings.

Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (IPA), Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) were searched from 1995 to December 2015. Systematic reviews of all study designs and outcomes were considered. Methodological quality was assessed using the 11-item Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) tool. Systematic reviews of moderate or high quality (AMSTAR ≥ 4) were included in the data synthesis. Data extraction and quality assessment was performed independently by two investigators.

Results: Of the 35 relevant systematic reviews identified, 24 were of moderate and seven of high quality and were included in the data synthesis. The largest overall numbers of unique primary research studies with favorable outcomes were for diabetes control (78% of studies reporting the outcome), blood pressure control (74%), cholesterol (63%), medication adherence (56%) and medication management (47%). Significant reductions in medication and/or healthcare costs were reported in 35% of primary research studies. Meta-analysis was performed in 12 systematic reviews. Results from the meta-analyses suggested positive impacts on glycosylated hemoglobin, blood pressure, cholesterol, and number and appropriateness of medications. Conflicting findings were reported in relation to hospitalization. No meta-analyses reported reduced mortality.

Conclusion: Moderate and high quality systematic reviews support the value of pharmacist-led medication review for a range of clinical outcomes. Further research including more rigorous cost analyses are required to determine the impact of pharmacist-led medication reviews on humanistic and economic outcomes. Future systematic reviews should consider the inclusion of both qualitative and quantitative studies to comprehensively evaluate medication review.

Keywords: Community pharmacy services; Drug-related side effects and adverse reactions; Inappropriate prescribing; Medication therapy management; Pharmacists; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Community Pharmacy Services*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Utilization Review*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / etiology
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control
  • Medication Therapy Management*
  • Pharmacists*
  • Professional Role*
  • Risk Factors
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic