International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 335–340 | Cite as

Pharmaceutical interventions on prescribed medicines in community pharmacies: focus on patient-reported problems

  • Karen A. MaesEmail author
  • Kurt E. Hersberger
  • Markus L. Lampert
Short Research Report


Background While dispensing prescribed medicines, pharmacists frequently encounter technical and clinical problems that require a pharmaceutical intervention. Objective To describe the pharmaceutical interventions performed by community pharmacists while dispensing prescribed medicines and to investigate, in-depth, the patient-reported problems with the prescribed medicines that triggered pharmaceutical interventions. Method Twenty-one pharmacists each collected 30 prescriptions requiring a pharmaceutical intervention on five selected days within a five-week period. All pharmaceutical interventions were classified using the PharmDISC system. Results Of all 430 pharmaceutical interventions, 286 (66.5%) pharmaceutical interventions had a clinical cause and 144 (33.5%) pharmaceutical interventions a technical cause. Pharmacists mainly intervened to substitute a drug (n = 132, 30.7%), adjust a dose (n = 57, 13.3%), and clarify/complete information (n = 48, 11.2%). A total of 243 (56.5%) pharmaceutical interventions resulted in a change of the prescription. The implementation rate of pharmaceutical interventions reached 88.6%. Altogether, patient-reported problems triggered 99 (23.0%) pharmaceutical interventions. In 15 (15.2%) of these PIs, contact with the prescriber was necessary, whereas 61 (84.8%) PIs only involved the pharmacist. Conclusion While dispensing prescribed medicines, pharmacists performed individualised pharmaceutical interventions to solve or prevent drug-related problems. That almost a quarter of all pharmaceutical interventions triggered by patient-reported problems highlights the importance of direct patient-pharmacist interaction when dispensing prescribed medicines.


Classification system Community pharmacy practice Drug-related problem Pharmaceutical care Pharmaceutical intervention Switzerland 



The authors thank the participating community pharmacists who contributed to our findings and Helene Studer and Jasmine Ruppanner for their help in the data analysis. We thank Dr. Roland Preston for proof-reading.



Conflicts of interest



  1. 1.
    Maes KA, Tremp RM, Hersberger KE, Lampert ML. Demonstrating the clinical pharmacist’s activity: validation of an intervention oriented classification system. Int J Clin Pharm. 2015;37(6):1162–71.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Picton C, Wright H. Medicines optimisation: helping patients to make the most of medicines. Good practice guidance for healthcare professionals in England. London: Royal Pharmaceutical Society; 2013.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Saez-Benito L, Fernandez-Llimos F, Feletto E, Gastelurrutia MA, Martinez-Martinez F, Benrimoj SI. Evidence of the clinical effectiveness of cognitive pharmaceutical services for aged patients. Age Ageing. 2013;42(4):442–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Desmaele S, De Wulf I, Dupont AG, Steurbaut S. Pharmacists’ role in handling problems with prescriptions for antithrombotic medication in Belgian community pharmacies. Int J Clin Pharm. 2015;37(4):656–68.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Strand LM, Cipolle RJ, Morley PC, editors. Drug therapy problems. In: Pharmaceutical care practice: the patient-centered approach to medication management services. 3rd. ed. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 1998.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Guignard E, Bugnon O. Pharmaceutical care in community pharmacies: practice and research in Switzerland. Ann Pharmacother. 2006;40(3):512–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Maes KA, Studer H, Berger J, Hersberger KE, Lampert ML. Documentation of pharmaceutical care: validation of an intervention oriented classification system. J Eval Clin Pract. 2017;23:1425–32.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Nicolas A, Eickhoff C, Griese N, Schulz M. Drug-related problems in prescribed medicines in Germany at the time of dispensing. Int J Clin Pharm. 2013;35(3):476–82.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Nair K, Dolovich L, Cassels A, McCormack J, Levine M, Gray J, et al. What patients want to know about their medications. Focus group study of patient and clinician perspectives. Can Fam Physician. 2002;48:104–10.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Horne R, Weinman J. Patients’ beliefs about prescribed medicines and their role in adherence to treatment in chronic physical illness. J Psychosom Res. 1999;47(6):555–67.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen A. Maes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kurt E. Hersberger
    • 1
  • Markus L. Lampert
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Pharmaceutical Care Research Group, Department of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Hospital PharmacyOltenSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations