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Educational Interventions by Pharmacists to Patients With Chronic Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Bennett, Michael I. MBChB, MD, FRCP*; Bagnall, Anne-Marie PhD; Raine, Gary BSc; Closs, S. José PhD; Blenkinsopp, Alison PhD§; Dickman, Andrew BSc; Ellershaw, John MD

doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e31821b6be4
Original Articles

Objective We hypothesized that educational interventions delivered by pharmacists to patients with chronic pain might improve pain-related outcomes and sought to establish “proof of concept” for this hypothesis.

Methods We searched electronic databases and published literature for randomized studies that examined an educational intervention in relation to the management of chronic pain that was delivered by a pharmacist to an adult patient. Four studies were included that randomized 400 patients with chronic pain and which followed up patients between 1 and 16 weeks.

Results Patients receiving these interventions experienced statistically significant benefits in the following outcomes compared with controls: a reduction in average pain intensity of 0.5 on a 0 to 10 rating scale, a reduction in adverse effects by more than 50%, and an improvement in satisfaction with treatment equivalent to approximately 1 point on a 0 to 10 rating scale. The interventions neither had effect on reducing interference from pain on daily life, nor on improving self-efficacy.

Discussion Pharmacist-delivered educational interventions seem to reduce adverse events and improve satisfaction, but their clinical benefit on pain intensity is debatable. Our analysis suggests that the role of pharmacists may be important but a deeper understanding and evaluation of the active components of these interventions is needed within clinical trials before wider implementation into clinical practice can be recommended.

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*School of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University, Lancaster

Faculty of Health, Leeds Metropolitan University

School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, Leeds

§Keele School of Pharmacy, Keele University, Keele

Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

This study was funded by unrestricted educational grants by NAPP Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, UK, and by Cephalon, Welwyn Garden City, UK. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Michael Ian Bennett, MBChB, MD, FRCP, School of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK (e-mail:

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Website,

Received September 5, 2010

Accepted March 20, 2011

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.