Effectiveness of interventions involving pharmacists on antibiotic prescribing by general practitioners: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Sajal K. Saha, Lesley Hawes, Danielle Mazza

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47 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The use of community antibiotic stewardship programmes (ASPs) is rising; however, their effectiveness when pharmacists are involved is uncertain. Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of ASPs involving pharmacists at improving antibiotic prescribing by general practitioners (GPs). Methods: Medline, Embase, Emcare, PubMed, PsycINFO, Cochrane CENTRAL, CINAHL Plus and Web of Science databases were searched to February 2018. Randomized and non-randomized studies of ASPs involving pharmacists as interventionists to GPs were included. Primary outcomes were absolute changes in GPs' antibiotic prescribing rate (APR) and antibiotic prescribing adherence rate (APAR) according to recommendations/guidelines. Meta-analysis used random effects models. Results: Fifteen studies reporting 18 trials were included in the meta-analysis: 8 assessed the APR and 10 the APAR. APR reductions (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.78-0.95, moderate-certainty evidence) and APAR improvements (OR 1.96, 95% CI 1.56-2.45, high-certainty evidence) were observed at 6 months median intervention follow-up. High-quality randomized trials reduced the APR (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.90-0.94) and increased the APAR (OR 2.55, 95% CI 2.16-3.01). Interventions were successful in decreasing the APR (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.90-0.95) and increasing the APAR (OR 1.72, 95% CI 1.04-2.84) when implemented by a pharmacist-GP team. Interventions involving pharmacist-infectious disease professional teams also decreased the APR (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.66-1.0) and increased the APAR (OR 2.36, 95% CI 1.87-2.96). GP education plus prescribing feedback, and group meetings were effective in both outcomes, whereas GP education, academic detailing and workshop training were effective in APAR outcome. However, substantial heterogeneity was demonstrated. Conclusions: ASPs involving pharmacists are effective in decreasing antibiotic prescribing and increasing guideline-adherent antibiotic prescribing by GPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1173-1181
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2019

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