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Commentary: Clinical pharmacist-led medication review program for oncology patients

The value of secondary care clinical pharmacist input in many therapy areas has become well established.

Oncology patients are often prescribed several drugs with multiple side-effects and are therefore at risk of drug-related problems thus warranting clinical pharmacist input.

The American College of Clinical Pharmacy definition of a comprehensive medication management program (CMMP) is one that ensure each patient’s medication is individually assessed for its appropriateness based on several different criteria.

To date, studies on the impact of a pharmacist-led CMMP in oncology are limited and for this new study, a clinical pharmacist CMMP was administered to 137 patients at an oncology ward.

The pharmacist used the CMMP to assess the appropriateness of each medicine on a daily basis in relation to the patient’s demographics, renal and hepatic functions, comorbidities and other drugs taken. The pharmacist also assessed medicine use and adherence.

Overall, 481 drug-related problems were identified, including “adverse drug events, that is, “drug interactions”, “untreated indications” and “unnecessary drug treatments”.

Inappropriate combinations of drugs was the cause of 73.2% of all problems. Most relevant, however, was that prescribers approved 93% of the proposed interventions and that 90.9% of problems were solved.

The authors concluded that a pharmacist-led CMMP in oncology was of value in helping to reduce drug-related problems.

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