The impact of a medication review with follow-up service on hospital admissions in aged polypharmacy patients

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The aims were to assess the impact of a medication review with follow-up (MRF) service provided in community pharmacy to aged polypharmacy patients on the number of medication-related hospital admissions and to estimate the effect on hospital costs.


This was a sub-analysis of a cluster randomized controlled trials carried out in 178 community pharmacies in Spain. Pharmacies in the intervention group (IG) provided a comprehensive medication review during 6 months. Pharmacists in the comparison group (CG) delivered usual care. For the purposes of this sub-analysis, an expert panel of three internal medicine specialists screened the hospitalizations occurring during the main study, in order to identify medication-related hospitalizations. Inter-rater reliability was measured using Fleiss's kappa. Hospital costs were calculated using diagnosis related groups.


One thousand four hundred and three patients were included in the main study and they had 83 hospitalizations. Forty-two hospitalizations (50.6%) were medicine-related, with a substantial level of agreement among the experts (kappa = 0.65, 95% CI 0.52, 0.78, P < 0.01). The number of medication-related hospitalizations was significantly lower in patients receiving MRF (IG 11, GC 31, P = 0.042). The probability of being hospitalized was 3.7 times higher in the CG (odds ratio 3.7, 95% CI 1.2, 11.3, P = 0.021). Costs for a medicine-related hospitalization were €6672. Medication-related hospitalization costs were lower for patients receiving MRF [IG: €94 (SD 917); CG: €301 (SD 2102); 95% CI 35.9, 378.0, P = 0.018].


MRF provided by community pharmacists might be an effective strategy to balance the assurance of the benefit from medications and the avoidance of medication-related hospitalizations in aged patients using polypharmacy.

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