Current and Potential Roles in Sports Pharmacy: A Systematic Review

Pharmacy (Basel). 2019 Mar 14;7(1):29. doi: 10.3390/pharmacy7010029.


(1) Background: The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate current and potential roles for pharmacists in sports medicine and to identify key themes in outcomes reported in studies. (2) Methods: EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Scopus and the Cochrane Library were searched in January 2019. Peer-reviewed, original research articles were considered for inclusion. Articles published in a language other than English were excluded. Quality appraisal was performed independently by two authors. (3) Results: Findings of 11 eligible articles (10 observational and 1 experimental study design) were grouped into three themes: (i) doping prevention and control, (ii) injury management and first aid, and (iii) educational and curricular needs. Pharmacists were perceived as a good potential source of information about doping and are enthusiastic about counseling athletes, but lack knowledge and confidence in this area. While pharmacists were frequently consulted for advice on managing sprains and strains, their advice was not always guided by current evidence. Pharmacists and pharmacy students recalled limited opportunity for education in sports pharmacy. (4) Conclusion: Pharmacists showed a willingness and an aptitude to counsel athletes. However, lack of knowledge and confidence, and limited educational opportunities, were key barriers. More research is necessary to support pharmacists in this role.

Keywords: athlete; doping; injury; medicine; performance-enhancing; pharmacy; sport; supplement.

Publication types

  • Review