Table 1

Characteristics of included studies

StudyDesignInclusion Criteria (patient characteristics)InterventionControlDuration of study (days or months)Mean age (years)Sample size
Atkin et al, Australia9QuasiElderly patients attending GP clinic, taking at least three medicationsGiven Medication Record Card and asked to bring it to all medical consultations for updating; after each GP consultation visited by pharmacist; additionally asked to bring currently used medications to each GP consultation (reminder posted/telephoned)Given Medication Record Card and asked by their doctor to bring it to all subsequent medical consultations for updating; after each GP consultation visited by pharmacist12 monthsMedian 75104102
Connock et al, UK10Systematic reviewRCTs where intervention was near-patient testing, patient self-testing or patient self-management of oral anticoagulant therapy versus a comparator of routine anticoagulation clinicsSelf-testing (n=5)
Both (n=1)
Primary care/family doctor management (n=6)
Specialised clinic (n=7)
Both (n=2)
Range from 2 to >24 monthsRange from 42 to 7516 trials 223116 trials 2052
Fisher et al, USA11QuasiOut patients receiving a new prescription for oral antibiotics or tricyclic antidepressantsPatient-generated reports (via telephone) of adverse clinical eventsStaff-generated reports14 daysNR27051109
Kennedy, USA12ExperimentalPatients 70 years or over (English speaking) admitted from non-institutionalised setting to a medical-surgical unit and prescribed at least one medication at time of dischargeHome Medication Behaviour Programme: individualised teaching plan delivered by nurse prior to dischargeUsual care: staff nurse assessment1 month77/753233
Kim and Grier, USA13ExperimentalElderly inpatients with a chronic disease requiring a prescription for a diuretic, antihypertensive or digitalis drugMedication instruction (audiotape plus written) at
  1. Normal pace

  2. Slow pace

No medication instruction1 day7715 + 1515
Ley et al, UK14ExperimentalPsychiatric outpatients requiring tranquillisers or antidepressantMedication information leaflets which differed in reading level:
  1. Easy

  2. Moderate

  3. Difficult

Normal procedureNRNR40 + 40 + 4040
McKellar and Rutland-Brown, Nepal15ExperimentalIlliterate hospital outpatients prescribed at least one medicationMedication dose counselling from Community Medical Auxiliary On the Job TraineesNo interventionImmediately following interventionNR5050
McMahon et al, USA16ExperimentalParents attending health centre with children <4 years of age diagnosed as having otitis media and placed on an antibiotic suspensionDosing instructions and demonstration plus:
  1. Syringe

  2. Syringe with correct dose marked

Dosing instruction onlyImmediately following interventionNR30 + 3030
Neafsey et al, USA17ExperimentalElderly people attending senior centre and able to perform activities of daily living, answer six of 10 items on the Short Portable mental Status Questionnaire, have a reading comprehension score of at least grade 6, be living independently and have visual acuity of at least 20/100 with corrective lensesPersonal Education Programme about potential drug interactions delivered by interactive computer program plus medication information booklet, or booklet onlyNR28 days7433 + 3332
Pereles et al, Canada18ExperimentalElderly hospital inpatients with plan to return to community livingSelf-medication programme; three-stage programme where patient is given increasing responsibility for administration of medicationsStandard care, medications administered by nursing staff40 days805156
Punekar, USA19ExperimentalMember of drug benefit plan with at least one prescription filled in the 3 monthsBrochure containing tips about medication and list of questions to ask healthcare professional, plus wallet card containing list of questions to ask healthcare professional and space for patients to record personal medical dataNR42 daysNR744735
Schnipper et al, USA20ExperimentalEnglish speaking inpatients on general medicine wards who were being discharged homePharmacist counselling about medication at discharge and follow-up telephone callUsual care: routine review of medication by ward-based pharmacist30 days589284
Van Haecht et al, Belgium21tExperimentalPatients attending GP with acute locomotor injury requiring non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugsPatient package insert using explicit headings, lay terminology and simple syntaxTraditional insert7 days38161156
Varkey et al, USA22QuasiAdults visiting primary care clinicMultifaceted intervention for patient and provider; patient-level interventions: posted reminder to bring all medications to clinic visit and verification/correction of medication list in electronic medical recordUsual care: medication history obtained from patient by provider and documented in electronic medical recordNR50/545357
Weingart et al, USA23ExperimentalAdult medical inpatientsGiven copy of current medication list with glossary of common medical terms (updated every 3 days) plus one page education guide to medication safetyOne page education guide to medication safety1053 patient-days at risk58/62107102
  • NR, not reported.