To describe the types of drug-related problems identified by pharmacists providing pharmaceutical care to elderly patients in the primary care or general medicine setting, and the impact of their recommendations on drug-related outcomes.
Searches of the MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, HealthSTAR, and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts electronic databases from 1990 to 2002 were conducted and a manual search of references from retrieved articles and references on file was performed. Large (n> 100) randomised, controlled studies comparing the provision of pharmaceutical care to usual care in seniors in primary care or general medicine settings were included. Two reviewers evaluated articles based on inclusion criteria and extracted data from the intervention arm of each study, resolving discrepancies by consensus. Nine original articles were included for analysis.
The mean number of drug-related problems (DRPs) identified per patient was 3.2 and the mean number of recommendations made per patient was 3.3. The most common DRP identified was not taking/receiving a prescribed drug appropriately (35.2%, range 4.7–49.3%). The most common recommendations made involved patient education (37.2%, range 4.6–48.2%). Implementation rates were generally high for all types of recommendations, with the highest being for provision of patient education (81.6%). The small number of studies available examining measures of drug utilisation and costs, health services utilisation, and patient outcomes produced inconsistent results, making it difficult to draw conclusions.
Substantial numbers and a wide range of DRPs were identified by pharmacists who provided pharmaceutical care to seniors in the primary care and general medicine setting. Pharmacists' drug-therapy recommendations were well accepted; however, further study is needed to determine the impact of these recommendations on health-related outcomes.