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      Effectiveness of the clinical pharmacist in reducing mortality in hospitalized cardiac patients: a propensity score-matched analysis

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          Pharmacist-led medication review services have been assessed in the meta-analyses in hospital. Of the 135 relevant articles located, 21 studies met the inclusion criteria; however, there was no statistically significant difference found between pharmacists’ interventions and usual care for mortality (odds ratio 1.50, 95% confidence interval 0.65, 3.46, P=0.34). These analyses may not have found a statistically significant effect because they did not adequately control the wide variation in the delivery of care and patient selection parameters. Additionally, the investigators did not conduct research on the cases of death specifically and did not identify all possible drug-related problems (DRPs) that could cause or contribute to mortality and then convince physicians to correct. So there will be a condition to use a more precise approach to evaluate the effect of clinical pharmacist interventions on the mortality rates of hospitalized cardiac patients.


          To evaluate the impact of the clinical pharmacist as a direct patient-care team member on the mortality of all patients admitted to the cardiology unit.


          A comparative study was conducted in a cardiology unit of a university-affiliated hospital. The clinical pharmacists did not perform any intervention associated with improper use of medications during Phase I (preintervention) and consulted with the physicians to address the DRPs during Phase II (postintervention). The two phases were compared to evaluate the outcome, and propensity score (PS) matching was applied to enhance the comparability. The primary endpoint of the study was the composite of all-cause mortality during Phase I and Phase II.


          Pharmacists were consulted by the physicians to correct any drug-related issues that they suspected may cause or contribute to a fatal outcome in the cardiology ward. A total of 1,541 interventions were suggested by the clinical pharmacist in the study group; 1,416 (92.0%) of them were accepted by the cardiology team, and violation of incompatibilities had the highest percentage of acceptance by the cardiology team. All-cause mortality was 1.5% during Phase I (preintervention) and was reduced to 0.9% during Phase II (postintervention), and the difference was statistically significant ( P=0.0005). After PS matching, all-cause mortality changed from 1.7% during Phase I down to 1.0% during Phase II, and the difference was also statistically significant ( P=0.0074).


          DRPs that were suspected to cause or contribute to a possibly fatal outcome were determined by clinical pharmacist service in patients hospitalized in a cardiology ward. Correction of these DRPs by physicians after pharmacist’s advice caused a significant decrease in mortality as analyzed by PS matching. The significant reduction in the mortality rate in this patient population observed in this study is “hypothesis generating” for future randomized studies.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Fatal adverse drug events: the paradox of drug treatment.

          Study patient characteristics, morbidity patterns and drug regimens associated with fatal adverse drug events (FADEs) amongst medical department inpatients. An observational, descriptive study using aggregated medical records, autopsies and pre and postmortem drug analyses. A department of internal medicine at a Norwegian county hospital. All patients dying in the department over a 2-year period. The incidence of FADEs were 18.2% (133/732). Compared with non-FADE cases, FADE cases were older, used more drugs both on admission and at death, and had higher comorbidity (P < 0.001). Drugs suspected to cause or contribute to fatal outcome were mainly those used for treating chronic pulmonary diseases (terbutaline, theophylline), antithrombotic drugs (aspirin, warfarin, heparines) and drugs for treating coronary heart disease and heart failure (e.g. diuretics, nitrates, angiotensin converting enzymes (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers). Bronchodilatory drugs, antithrombotic drugs and cardiovascular drugs account for 26, 31 and 30 FADE cases, respectively. Patients dying from gastrointestinal diseases had the highest relative FADE occurrence (42%), cancer patients the lowest occurrence (4%). Serious drug-drug and drug-disease interactions were frequently suspected. Various degrees of inappropriateness in choice of drug, dosage or administration route were seen in 50% of FADE cases. This study shows a high incidence of FADEs associated with high age, high comorbidity and polypharmacy, and partly to inappropriate drug prescribing or use. Treatments frequently associated with FADEs were bronchodilatory treatment of patients with both chronic obstructive lung disease and coronary heart disease, vasodilatory treatment in patient with endstage heart failure and the combination of several antithrombotic drugs. A systematic strategy is needed to avoid unnecessary adverse drug events (ADEs).
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            Suboptimal medication use may lead to morbidity, mortality and increased costs. To reduce unnecessary patient harm, medicines management including medication reviews can be provided by clinical pharmacists. Some recent studies have indicated a positive effect of this service, but the quality and outcomes vary among studies. Hence, there is a need for compiling the evidence within this area. The aim of this systematic MiniReview was to identify, assess and summarize the literature investigating the effect of pharmacist-led medication reviews in hospitalized patients. Five databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science and the Cochrane Library) were searched from their inception to 2011 in addition to citation tracking and hand search. Only original research papers published in English describing pharmacist-led medication reviews in a hospital setting including minimum 100 patients or 100 interventions were included in the final assessment. A total of 836 research papers were identified, and 31 publications were included in the study: 21 descriptive studies and 10 controlled studies, of which 6 were randomized controlled trials. The pharmacist interventions were well implemented with acceptance rates from 39% to 100%. The 10 controlled studies generally show a positive effect on medication use and costs, satisfaction with the service and positive as well as insignificant effects on health service use. Several outcomes were statistically insignificant, but these were predominantly associated with low sample sizes or low acceptance rates. Therefore, future research within this area should be designed using rigorous design, large sample sizes and includes comparable outcome measures for patient health outcomes.
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              Analysis of risk factors for adverse drug events in critically ill patients*.

              An evaluation of risk factors for adverse drug events in critically ill patients has not been previously studied. The purpose of this original study was to determine risk factors for adverse drug events in critically ill adult patients. This retrospective case-control study includes patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit during a 7.5-yr period. Academic medical center with 647 beds that contains approximately 120 intensive care unit beds. Patients in the case group experienced an adverse drug event as documented in the hospital's database. The control group comprised the next two patients admitted to the same intensive care unit by the same admitting service. None. Twenty-nine suspected risk factors identified from the literature were evaluated, including patient characteristics, drug characteristics, and laboratory values using a multiple logistic regression. A sample of 1101 cases and controls (54% male), with a mean age of 59.4 ± 17.5 yrs, were identified. In 367 cases, there was a total of 499 documented adverse drug events. Patients with kidney injury, thrombocytopenia, and those admitted emergently were 16-times, 3-times, and 2-times more likely to have an adverse drug event, respectively. Patients who were administered intravenous medications had a 3% higher risk of having an adverse drug event for each drug dispensed. Overall, the case group received more drugs per intensive care unit day and more drugs per intensive care unit stay. Several patient and drug-related characteristics contribute to the risk of adverse drug events in critically ill patients. Diligent monitoring of factors that can influence the pharmacokinetic properties for existing drug therapies is necessary. Drug regimens should be evaluated daily for minimization. Based on previous studies, pharmacists as part of the interdisciplinary team could help to manage these risks.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                18 February 2016
                : 12
                : 241-250
                [1 ]Department of Pharmacy, Shanghai East Hospital, Affiliated to Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Pharmacy, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Xiao-yan Liu, Department of Pharmacy, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Pujian Road 160, Shanghai 200127, People’s Republic of China, Email xiaoyan5156@ 123456163.com
                © 2016 Zhai et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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