Clinical and economic impact of medication reconciliation in cancer patients: a systematic review

Support Care Cancer. 2020 Aug;28(8):3557-3569. doi: 10.1007/s00520-020-05400-5. Epub 2020 Mar 18.


Purpose: Medication reconciliation can reduce drug-related iatrogenesis by facilitating exhaustive information transmission at care transition points. Given the vulnerability of cancer patients to adverse drug events, medication reconciliation could provide a significant clinical benefit in cancer care. This review aims to synthesize existing evidence on medication reconciliation in cancer patients.

Methods: A comprehensive search was performed in the PubMed/Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science databases, associating the keywords "medication reconciliation" and "cancer" or "oncology."

Results: Fourteen studies met the selection criteria. Various medication reconciliation practices were reported: performed at admission or discharge, for hospitalized or ambulatory patients treated with oral or parenteral anticancer drugs. In one randomized controlled trial, medication reconciliation decreased clinically significant medication errors by 26%. Although most studies were non-comparative, they highlighted that medication reconciliation led to identification of discrepancies and other drug-related problems in up to 88% and 94.7% of patients, respectively. The impact on post-discharge healthcare utilization remains under-evaluated and mostly inconclusive, despite a trend toward reduction. No comparative economic evaluations were available but one study estimated the benefit:cost ratio of medication reconciliation to be 2.31:1, suggesting its benefits largely outweigh its costs. Several studies also underlined the extended pharmacist time required for the intervention, highlighting the need for further cost analysis.

Conclusion: Medication reconciliation can reduce adverse drug events in cancer patients. More robust and economic evaluations are still required to support its development in everyday practice.

Keywords: Adverse drug events; Cancer; Clinical pharmacist; Medication reconciliation.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Medication Reconciliation / economics
  • Medication Reconciliation / methods*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / economics*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Antineoplastic Agents