Systematic review and meta-analysis of medication reviews conducted by pharmacists on cardiovascular diseases risk factors in ambulatory care

Francisco Martínez-Mardones, Fernando Fernandez-Llimos, Shalom I Benrimoj, Antonio Ahumada-Canale, José Cristian Plaza-Plaza, Fernanda S. Tonin, Victoria Garcia-Cardenas

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Background: Pharmacists-led medication reviews (MRs) are claimed to be effective for the control of cardiovascular diseases; however, the evidence in the literature is conflicting. The main objective of this meta-analysis was to analyze the impact of pharmacist-led MRs on cardiovascular disease risk factors overall and in different ambulatory settings while exploring the effects of different components of MRs.

Methods and Results: Searches were conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and the Cochrane Library Central Register of Controlled Trials database. Randomized and cluster randomized controlled trials of pharmacist-led MRs compared with usual care were included. Settings were community pharmacies and ambulatory clinics. The classification used for MRs was the Pharmaceutical Care Network Europe as basic (type 1), intermediate (type 2), and advanced (type 3). Meta-analyses in therapeutic goals used odds ratios to standardize the effect of each study, and for continuous data (eg, systolic blood pressure) raw differences were calculated using baseline and final values, with 95% CIs. Prediction intervals were calculated to account for heterogeneity. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to test the robustness of results. Meta-analyses included 69 studies with a total of 11 644 patients. Sample demographic characteristics were similar between studies. MRs increased control of hypertension (odds ratio, 2.73; 95% prediction interval, 1.05-7.08), type 2 diabetes mellitus (odds ratio, 3.11; 95% prediction interval, 1.17-5.88), and high cholesterol (odds ratio, 1.91; 95% prediction interval, 1.05-3.46). In ambulatory clinics, MRs produced significant effects in control of diabetes mellitus and cholesterol. For community pharmacies, systolic blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein values decreased significantly. Advanced MRs had larger effects than intermediate MRs in diabetes mellitus and dyslipidemia outcomes. Most intervention components had no significant effect on clinical outcomes and were often poorly described. CIs were significant in all analyses but prediction intervals were not in continuous clinical outcomes, with high heterogeneity present.

Conclusions: Intermediate and advanced MRs provided by pharmacists may improve control of blood pressure, cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes mellitus, as statistically significant prediction intervals were found. However, most continuous clinical outcomes failed to achieve statistical significance, with high heterogeneity present, although positive trends and effect sizes were found. Studies should use a standardized method for MRs to diminish sources of these heterogeneities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere013627
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2019 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • cardiovascular risk factors
  • hypertension
  • medication reviews
  • pharmacist management
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus


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