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Pharmacist-led interventions to reduce adverse drug events in older people living in residential aged care facilities: a systematic review

Aims: We aimed to investigate the efficacy and effectiveness of pharmacist-led interventions to reduce adverse drug events (ADEs) in older people living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs).

Methods: We systematically searched MEDLINE via PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and PsycINFO from their inceptions to July 2020. We investigated experimental study designs that employed a control group, or quasi-experimental studies conducted in RACFs.

Results: We screened 3826 records and included 23 studies. We found seven single-component and 16 multicomponent pharmacist-led interventions to reduce ADEs in older people living in RACFs. The most frequent single-component pharmacist-led intervention was medication review. Medication review and education provision to healthcare professionals were the most common components in many pharmacist-led multicomponent interventions. Thirteen studies (56%) showed no effect, whereas ten studies (43%) reported significant reductions in ADEs following pharmacist-led interventions either as a sole intervention or as a part of a multi-component intervention. Many interventions focused on reducing the incidence of falls (39%).

Conclusions: This systematic review suggests that pharmacist-led interventions have the potential to reduce the incidence of ADEs in older people living in RACFs. Medication review and educational programmes, particularly academic detailing, either as a single component or as part of multicomponent interventions were the most common approaches to reducing drug-related harm in older people living in RACFs. The lack of a positive association between interventions and ADE in many studies suggests that targeted and tailored pharmacist-led interventions are required to reduce ADEs in older people in RACFs.


Publication title

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology




School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg

Rights statement

Copyright 2021 British Pharmacological Society

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Evaluation of health outcomes; Health related to ageing

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