The role of Pharmacist-led Medication Reviews as a tool to achieve optimal chronic pain management

Tayla Thomas, Vera Buss, Alison Shield

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Introduction: Chronic pain is a complex health burden affecting approximately 25% of the population. It is common practice for chronic pain to be managed with numerous concurrent analgesics, although these regimes are not always optimised. High rates of drug related problems (DRPs) have been associated with commonly prescribed analgesics such as opioids. Pharmacist-led medication reviews specialising in pain management can be used as a preventative measure to minimise DRPs and optimise management strategies. Aim. To investigate the rate and quality of pharmacists’ recommendations regarding pain management during Home Medication Reviews (HMRs). Methods: A dataset of 579 consecutive HMR reports were reviewed and grouped according to the presence of pain management recommendations; the type of recommendation was thematically characterized. Results: This study found that pharmacists provided 783 comments regarding pain in HMR reports for 385 patients; most of these patients (91%) were taking analgesics with 44% of these patients (154/352) taking opioid medications. The most common pharmacist-led pain recommendation was an increased dose of analgesic medication (22%) and the least common recommendation was dose timing alterations (0.3%; see figure). Additionally, it was found that 67 general remarks about pain were given without a recommendation for further management. Interestingly, a further 136 patients that were taking analgesic medicines did not have any pain management comments in their report. Discussion: The frequency of medication related comments provided in HMR reports suggests that pharmacists are utilizing their clinical skills and scope of practice to address pain management. Some results suggest suboptimal use of HMRs as a tool in achieving optimal chronic pain management with 28% of patients using pain medications but not receiving pharmacist-led recommendations. An extension of this study could investigate strategies to increase utilization of HMRs to address chronic pain and encourage pharmacists to become more involved in chronic pain management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-8
Number of pages1
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


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