Table 2

 Characteristics of included studies

StudyCountryParticipantsStudy designInterventionsRelevant outcomesBaseline measurementsConcealment of allocationAttrition biasBlind outcome assessmentMain results
RCT, randomised controlled trial (including cluster randomised controlled trials); CBA, controlled before/after study. NS, not significant.
Baseline measurements: done  =  baseline comparability of experimental groups in primary outcome.
Concealment of allocation: done  =  adequately concealed allocation procedures described.
Attrition bias: done  =  >80% follow up in all experimental groups.
Blind outcome assessment: done  =  primary outcome assessment blind to allocation.
Main results: all values refer to proportion of participants with that outcome in each experimental group in the form [intervention] v [control] unless otherwise stated. Significance tests are as reported by authors in original papers.
Hawkins24US1148 patients with diabetes and/or hypertension attending primary care clinicRCTPharmacist-ledHospital admissions and emergency department visitsDoneNot clearNot doneNot clearHospital admissions: 0.16 patients/year v 0.17 patients/year (NS)
Emergency department visits:
1.18 patients/year v 1.01 patients/year (NS)
Cummings23US160 ambulatory adultsCBAPharmacist-ledHospital admissionsDoneN/ANot clearNot clearHospital admissions: 28/61 v 46/68
Thompson31US152 elderly patients in a skilled nursing facilityCBAPharmacist-ledHospital admissions and number of deathsDoneN/ANot clearNot clearHospital admissions: 2.9% v 11.1% (p = 0.06)
Deaths: 3/67 v 10/72 (p = 0.05)
Kane38US9738 nursing home residentsCBAHealth care professional/educationalHospital admissions and emergency department visitsDoneN/ANot clearNot clearHospital admissions: a relative decrease from pre to post of 0.69 per 1000 patient days (p<0.05).
Emergency department visits: a relative decrease from pre to post of 0.9 (NS)
Avorn43US823 patients from six stratified pairs of nursing homesRCTHealth care professional/educationalFormal assessments of mental status, memory, anxiety, depression, behaviour and sleepDoneNot clearNot doneDoneReduction in function in those taking antipsychotics: Mental status 38% v 56% (NS), memory 31% v 54% (p<0.05), anxiety 46% v 35% (NS), depression 56% v 27% (p<0.05), behaviour 45% v 38% (NS), sleep 35% v 25% (NS)Reduction in function in those taking benzodiazepines: Mental status 46% v 27% (NS), memory 62% v 29% (p<0.05), anxiety 23% v 52% (p<0.05), depression 40% v 38% (NS), behaviour 36% v 41% (NS), sleep 56% v 32% (NS)
Vetter52UK674 elderly patients of a single general practiceRCTIntervention to reduce fallsFall with fractureDoneDoneNot doneNot clearFalls with fractures: 5% v 4% (NS)
Zullich57US155 elderly patients taking benzodiazepines from 10 long term care facilitiesITSHealth care professional/educationalFall, hospital admissionN/AN/ANot doneNot clearPopulation risk ratio for falls 0.63 (NS)Population risk ratio for hospital admission 1.38 (NS)
Kimberlin35US762 patients using community pharmaciesRCTPharmacist-ledHospital admissionsNot clearNot clearNot doneNot clearOdds of admission not significantly different between groups (numbers not reported)
Wilkinson42UK61 patients with depression attending three general practicesRCTHealth care professional/educationalAdverse eventsDoneDoneNot doneNot doneAdverse events/number of patients: 46/14 v 37/19 (NS)
Knowlton36US18 pharmaciesRCTPharmacist-ledHospital admissionsNot doneNot clearNot clearNot doneHospital admission rates per month: 3.95% v 3.93% (NS)
Tinetti50US301 elderly primary care patientsRCTIntervention to reduce fallsFalls, hospital admissions, deathsDoneNot clearDoneDoneFalls: 35% v 47% (p = 0.04)Hospital admissions: 21% v 24% (NS)Deaths: 5% v 3% (NS)
Wagner53US1559 elderly primary care patientsRCTIntervention to reduce fallsFalls resulting in injury, falls resulting in hospital admissionDoneNot clearDoneNot doneFalls resulting in injury: 13.4% v 10.1% (NS)Falls resulting in hospital admission: 0.6% v 0.9% (NS)
Kendrick44UK440 patients with long term mental health problems from 16 general practicesRCTHealth care professional/educationalAdmissionsDoneNot clearDoneNot clearAdmissions with physical problems: 14.2% v 16.1% (NS)
Hanlon34US208 primary care patients on five or more regular medicationsRCTPharmacist-ledAdverse drug eventsDoneNot clearDoneDoneAdverse drug events: 30.2% v 40.0% (NS)
Carter45Australia658 elderly primary care patientsRCTIntervention to reduce fallsFall resulting in injuryDoneNot clearNot doneNot clearFall resulting in injury: 10.4% v 14.3% (NS)
DeSonnaville41Netherlands505 primary care patients with type II diabetesCBAHealth care professional/educationalEpisodes of hypoglycaemiaNot doneN/ANot doneNot clearEpisodes of hypoglycaemia/patient/year: 0.014 v 0 (NS)
Ray49US499 residents of seven matched pairs of nursing homesRCTIntervention to reduce fallsFalls, mortalityDoneDoneDoneDoneIncidence rate of injurious falls (per 100 person years): 13.7 v 19.9 (NS)Mortality rate (per 100 person years): 23.0 v 17.3 (NS)
Aubert37US138 primary care patients with diabetesRCTHealth care professional/educationalHospital admissions, emergency department visits, severe low blood glucose eventsDoneNot clearNot doneNot clearHospital admission rate: 6% v 6% (NS)Emergency department visits: 2% v 6% (NS)Severe low blood glucose events (increase from baseline): 3.1% v 2.9% (NS)
Lai27US874 primary care patientsCBAPharmacist-ledHospital admissions, emergency department visitsDoneN/ADoneDoneMean number of hospital admissions: 0.1 v 0.2 (NS)Mean number of emergency room visits: 0.06 v 0.06 (NS)
McCombs29US6000 patients using nine Kaiser Permanente pharmaciesRCTPharmacist-ledHospital admissionsDoneNot clearDoneDoneKaiser Permanente model associated with 3.3% lower likelihood of hospital admission
Campbell54NZ93 elderly primary care patients using hypnoticsRCTIntervention to reduce fallsFallsDoneDoneNot doneDoneFalls per person years: 0.52 v 1.16 (p<0.05)
Coleman46US169 elderly primary care patientsRCTHealth care professional/educationalFalls, hospital admissions, emergency department visitsDoneNot clearNot doneNot clearFall in last 12 months: 43.5% v 35.6% (NS)Mean hospital admissions/year: 0.58 v 0.59 (NS)Mean emergency department visits/year: 0.23 v 0.27 (NS)
Bond21UK3074 primary care patientsRCTPharmacist-ledAdverse drug reactions, hospital admissions, mortalityNot doneDoneNot clearNot clearAdverse drug reactions: 8.3% v 6.7% (NS)Hospital admissions: 6.0% v 5.7% (NS)Mortality rate: 3.6% v 3.8% (NS)
Furniss33UK330 residents of seven matched pairs of nursing homesRCTPharmacist-ledFormal assessments of cognitive function, depression and behaviour and deathsDoneNot clearDoneNot clearMean difference in cognitive function score: 1.6 in favour of control (NS)Mean difference in depression score: −0.75 in favour of intervention (NS)Mean difference in behaviour score: −2.2 in favour of control (p = 0.02)Deaths: 4 v 14 (p = 0.03)
Kempton55Australia3600 elderly primary care patientsCBAIntervention to reduce fallsFalls leading to hospital admissionDoneN/ANot doneNot doneFall related hospital admission rate ratio: 0.8 (p<0.01)
Malone28US1054 primary care patientsRCTPharmacist-ledHospital admissionsDoneDoneDoneDoneMean increase in hospital admission rates over study period: 0.13 v 0.19 (NS)
McMurdo48UK133 elderly patients from nine residential homesRCTIntervention to reduce fallsFallsNot clearNot clearNot doneDoneFalls per person per week: 0.06 v 0.07 (NS)
Piette39US280 primary care patients with diabetesRCTHealth care professional/educationalHospital admissions, emergency department visits.DoneDoneDoneNot doneHospital admissions: 24% v 23% (NS)Emergency department visits: 48% v 40% (NS)
Poulstrup56Denmark26221 elderly primary care patientsCBAIntervention to reduce fallsFracturesDoneN/ANot clearNot clearReduction in fractures in intervention group compared to control: 14% (NS)
Van Haastregt51Netherlands316 elderly primary care patientsRCTIntervention to reduce fallsFallsDoneNot clearDoneNot clearInjurious falls: 28% v 22% (NS)Falls resulting in medical care: 18% v 12% (NS)
Bernsten20Multi-centre (Europe)2454 elderly primary care patientsRCTPharmacist-ledHospital admissionsNot doneNot clearNot doneNot clearHospital admissions: 35.6% v 40.4% (NS)
Herborg25Denmark500 patients obtaining asthma medication from community pharmacistsCBAPharmacist-ledHospital admissions, emergency department visitsDoneN/ADoneNot clearHospital admissions per patient: 0.019 v 0.058 (not tested)Emergency department visits: 0.019 v 0.021 (not tested)
Krska26UK332 elderly primary care patients from six general practicesRCTPharmacist-ledHospital admissions, pharmaceutical care issuesDoneNot clearDoneNot clearHospital admissions: 12 v 13 (not tested)Potential or suspected adverse drug reactions resolved: 84.3% v 57.8% (p<0.0001)
Olivarius40Denmark1316 primary care patients with diabetesRCTHealth care professional/educationalHospital admissions, severe hypoglycaemic episodesDoneNot clearNot doneNot doneMedian number of hospital admissions since diagnosis: 1 v 1 (NS)Proportion of participants with an episode of severe hypoglycaemia since diagnosis: 4% v 4% (NS)
Roberts30Australia3230 residents of 55 nursing homesRCTPharmacist-ledHospital admissions, mortalityNot clearDoneNot doneNot clearDifference in mean percentage hospital admission rate pre/post study: 1.3 v −16.9 (NS)Adjusted mortality rates per 100 person years: 27.2 v 31.7 (NS)
Zermansky32UK1188 elderly primary care patientsRCTPharmacist -ledHospital admissionsDoneNot clearDoneNot clearProportion admitted to hospital: 19% v 17% (NS)
Jensen47Sweden439 elderly patients from nine residential care facilitiesRCTIntervention to reduce fallsFallsDoneNot clearDoneNot doneFalls: 44% v 56% (p<0.05)
Bouvy22Netherlands152 patients with heart failureRCTPharmacist-ledHospital admissionsDoneDoneDoneNot doneHospital admissions: 32/74 v 42/78 (p = 0.4)