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      Pharmacist-participated medication review in different practice settings: Service or intervention? An overview of systematic reviews


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          Medication review (MR) is a pharmacy practice conducted in different settings that has a positive impact on patient health outcomes. In this context, systematic reviews on MR have restricted the assessment of this practice using criteria such as methodological quality, practice settings, and patient outcomes. Therefore, expanding research on this subject is necessary to facilitate the understanding of the effectiveness of MR and the comparison of its results.


          To examine the panorama of systematic reviews on pharmacist-participated MR in different practice settings.


          A literature search was undertaken in Biblioteca Virtual em Saúde (BVS), Embase, PubMed, Scopus, The Cochrane Library, and Web of Science databases through January 2018 using keywords for "medication review", "systematic review", and "pharmacist". Two independents investigators screened titles, abstracts, full texts; assessed methodological quality; and, extracted data from the included reviews.


          Seventeen systematic reviews were included, of which sixteen presented low to moderate methodological quality. Most of reviews were conducted in Europe (n = 7), included controlled primary studies (n = 16), elderly patients (n = 9), and long-term care facilities (n = 8). Seven reviews addressed MR as an intervention and thirteen reviews cited collaboration between physicians and pharmacists in the practice of MR. In addition, thirteen terminologies for MR were used and the main objective was to identify and solve drug-related problems and/or optimize the drug use (n = 11).


          There is considerable heterogeneity in practice settings, population, definitions, terminologies, and approach of MR as well as poor description of patient care process in the systematic reviews. These facts may limit the comparison, summarization and understanding of the results of MR. Furthermore, the methodological quality of most systematic reviews was below ideal. Thus, international agreement on the MR process is necessary to assess, compare and optimize the quality of care provided.

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          Most cited references 75

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          Does pharmacist-led medication review help to reduce hospital admissions and deaths in older people? A systematic review and meta-analysis.

          We set out to determine the effects of pharmacist-led medication review in older people by means of a systematic review and meta-analysis covering 11 electronic databases. Randomized controlled trials in any setting, concerning older people (mean age > 60 years), were considered, aimed at optimizing drug regimens and improving patient outcomes. Our primary outcome was emergency hospital admission (all cause). Secondary outcomes were mortality and numbers of drugs prescribed. We also recorded data on drug knowledge, adherence and adverse drug reactions. We retrieved 32 studies which fitted the inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis of 17 trials revealed no significant effect on all-cause admission, relative risk (RR) of 0.99 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.87, 1.14, P = 0.92], with moderate heterogeneity (I(2) = 49.5, P = 0.01). Meta-analysis of mortality data from 22 trials found no significant benefit, with a RR of mortality of 0.96 (95% CI 0.82, 1.13, P = 0.62), with no heterogeneity (I(2) = 0%). Pharmacist-led medication review may slightly decrease numbers of drugs prescribed (weighted mean difference = -0.48, 95% CI -0.89, -0.07), but significant heterogeneity was found (I(2) = 85.9%, P < 0.001). Results for additional outcomes could not be pooled, but suggested that interventions could improve knowledge and adherence. Pharmacist-led medication review interventions do not have any effect on reducing mortality or hospital admission in older people, and can not be assumed to provide substantial clinical benefit. Such interventions may improve drug knowledge and adherence, but there are insufficient data to know whether quality of life is improved.
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            Medication reviews.

            Recent years have seen a formalization of medication review by pharmacists in all settings of care. This article describes the different types of medication review provided in primary care in the UK National Health Service (NHS), summarizes the evidence of effectiveness and considers how such reviews might develop in the future. Medication review is, at heart, a diagnostic intervention which aims to identify problems for action by the prescriber, the clinician conducting the review, the patient or all three but can also be regarded as an educational intervention to support patient knowledge and adherence. There is good evidence that medication review improves process outcomes of prescribing including reduced polypharmacy, use of more appropriate medicines formulation and more appropriate choice of medicine. When 'harder' outcome measures have been included, such as hospitalizations or mortality in elderly patients, available evidence indicates that whilst interventions could improve knowledge and adherence they did not reduce mortality or hospital admissions with one study showing an increase in hospital admissions. Robust health economic studies of medication reviews remain rare. However a review of cost-effectiveness analyses of medication reviews found no studies in which the cost of the intervention was greater than the benefit. The value of medication reviews is now generally accepted despite lack of robust research evidence consistently demonstrating cost or clinical effectiveness compared with traditional care. Medication reviews can be more effectively deployed in the future by targeting, multi-professional involvement and paying greater attention to medicines which could be safely stopped. © 2012 The Authors. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology © 2012 The British Pharmacological Society.
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              Effect of interventions to reduce potentially inappropriate use of drugs in nursing homes: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials

              Background Studies have shown that residents in nursing homes often are exposed to inappropriate medication. Particular concern has been raised about the consumption of psychoactive drugs, which are commonly prescribed for nursing home residents suffering from dementia. This review is an update of a Norwegian systematic review commissioned by the Norwegian Directorate of Health. The purpose of the review was to identify and summarise the effect of interventions aimed at reducing potentially inappropriate use or prescribing of drugs in nursing homes. Methods We searched for systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, ISI Web of Knowledge, DARE and HTA, with the last update in April 2010. Two of the authors independently screened titles and abstracts for inclusion or exclusion. Data on interventions, participants, comparison intervention, and outcomes were extracted from the included studies. Risk of bias and quality of evidence were assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Table and GRADE, respectively. Outcomes assessed were use of or prescribing of drugs (primary) and the health-related outcomes falls, physical limitation, hospitalisation and mortality (secondary). Results Due to heterogeneity in interventions and outcomes, we employed a narrative approach. Twenty randomised controlled trials were included from 1631 evaluated references. Ten studies tested different kinds of educational interventions while seven studies tested medication reviews by pharmacists. Only one study was found for each of the interventions geriatric care teams, early psychiatric intervening or activities for the residents combined with education of health care personnel. Several reviews were identified, but these either concerned elderly in general or did not satisfy all the requirements for systematic reviews. Conclusions Interventions using educational outreach, on-site education given alone or as part of an intervention package and pharmacist medication review may under certain circumstances reduce inappropriate drug use, but the evidence is of low quality. Due to poor quality of the evidence, no conclusions may be drawn about the effect of the other three interventions on drug use, or of either intervention on health-related outcomes.

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                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Formal analysisRole: Investigation
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – original draft
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Project administrationRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
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                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                10 January 2019
                : 14
                : 1
                [1 ] Laboratory of Teaching and Research in Social Pharmacy (LEPFS), Department of Pharmacy, Federal University of Sergipe, São Cristóvão, Sergipe, Brazil
                [2 ] Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
                University of Oxford, UNITED KINGDOM
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                © 2019 Silva et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, Pages: 24
                Funded by: Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES)
                This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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