Impact of pharmaceutical care interventions on multidisciplinary care of older patients with cancer: A systematic review

J Geriatr Oncol. 2023 May;14(4):101450. doi: 10.1016/j.jgo.2023.101450. Epub 2023 Feb 20.


Introduction: Optimizing medication use is a major issue in older patients with cancer and pharmacists are increasingly involved in their multidisciplinary care. The implementation of pharmaceutical care interventions must be supported by impact evaluations to enable their development and funding. This systematic review aims to synthesize evidence on the impact of pharmaceutical care interventions in older patients with cancer.

Materials and methods: A comprehensive search was performed in the PubMed/Medline, Embase, and Web of Science databases, for articles reporting evaluations of pharmaceutical care interventions for patients with cancer aged 65 years or older.

Results: Eleven studies met the selection criteria. Most pharmacists were part of multidisciplinary geriatric oncology teams. Whether in outpatient or inpatient settings, interventions had common components, including patient interview, medication reconciliation, and comprehensive medication review to assess drug-related problems (DRPs). DRPs were identified in 95% of patients with 1.7 to 3 DRPs on average. Pharmacist recommendations resulted in a 20-40% reduction in the total number of DRPs and a 20-25% decrease in the prevalence of DRP. Prevalence of potentially inappropriate or omitted medications and their subsequent deprescribing or addition varied greatly between studies, notably depending on detection tools used. Clinical impact was insufficiently evaluated. Only one study reported a reduction of anticancer treatment toxicities following a joint pharmaceutical and geriatric assessment. A single economic evaluation calculated a potential net benefit of $3,864.23 per patient resulting from the intervention.

Discussion: These encouraging results must be confirmed by more robust evaluations to support the involvement of pharmacists in multidisciplinary care of older patients with cancer.

Keywords: Drug related problems; Drug-drug interactions; Older patients with cancer; Pharmaceutical care; Pharmacists; Potentially inappropriate medications.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Medication Reconciliation
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Pharmaceutical Services*
  • Pharmacists