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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2014 Sep;78(3):488-97. doi: 10.1111/bcp.12351.

Medication reviews for nursing home residents to reduce mortality and hospitalization: systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, SE-413 45, Sweden.



Medication reviews by a third party have been introduced as a method to improve drug treatment in older people. We assessed whether this intervention reduces mortality and hospitalization for nursing home residents.


Systematic literature searches were performed (from January 1990 to June 2012) in Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health Sources and Health Technology Assessment databases. We included randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials (RCTs and non-RCTs) of medication reviews compared with standard care or other types of medication reviews in nursing home residents. The outcome variables were mortality and hospitalization. Study quality was assessed systematically. We performed meta-analyses using random-effects models.


Seven RCTs and five non-RCTs fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The mean age of included patients varied between 78 and 86 years. They were treated with a mean of 4-12 drugs. The study quality was assessed as high (n = 1), moderate (n = 4) or low (n = 7). Eight studies compared medication reviews with standard care. In six of them, pharmacists were involved in the intervention. Meta-analyses of RCTs revealed a risk ratio (RR) for mortality of 1.03 [medication reviews vs. standard care; five trials; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.85-1.23]. The corresponding RR for hospitalization was 1.07 (two trials; 95% CI 0.61-1.87).


Our findings indicate that medication reviews for nursing home residents do not reduce mortality or hospitalization. More research in the setting of controlled trials remains to be done in order to clarify how drug treatment can be optimized for these patients.


drug treatment; medication review; nursing home

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