PCNE definition of medication review: reaching agreement


Background Medication review is important in an era, in which polypharmacy is increasing. To date, no agreed international definition of medication review exists. Objective The aim was to reach agreement on an internationally applicable definition of medication review. Setting An international group of experts in medication review. Methods A working group of the Pharmaceutical Care Network Europe (PCNE) was established to agree on a definition including a classification of medication review. First, a survey with the aim of systematically gathering viewpoints on a definition of medication review was conducted. Second, a workshop was held to achieve an agreement. Finally, during the General Assembly of PCNE, the definition was approved. To ensure a better understanding of the scope and the considerations behind the definition, a position paper was created. Main outcome measure An internationally agreed definition of medication review. Results 58 PCNE members from 20 different countries completed the online survey. Then, 22 participants from 11 different countries (not only PCNE members) elaborated the final definition during a workshop. The final PCNE version agreed was: “Medication review is a structured evaluation of a patient’s medicines with the aim of optimising medicines use and improving health outcomes. This entails detecting drug-related problems and recommending interventions”. Overall, the consensus process included 225 people from 35 countries and resulted also in a classification of medication review taking into account the type and source of available information. Conclusion Involvement of an international community from research and practice and the use of a systematic process led to an agreement on the term medication review and on a classification valid for all settings and professions.

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We thank all participants of the discussions and the online survey for making this agreement on the term medication review and on the classification possible. Furthermore, we are grateful to Prof. Martin Henman (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) for editing the final draft and to Christian Rutschmann (Business Images AG, Switzerland) for his support as a graphic designer.


No special funding was received for this paper or the processes described herein.

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The authors have no conflicts of interest in connection with this article.

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Correspondence to Nina Griese-Mammen.

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Griese-Mammen, N., Hersberger, K.E., Messerli, M. et al. PCNE definition of medication review: reaching agreement. Int J Clin Pharm 40, 1199–1208 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11096-018-0696-7

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  • Clinical pharmacy
  • Drug-related problems
  • Medication management
  • Medication review
  • Pharmaceutical care
  • Pharmacy practice