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The availability of information on impaired renal function in the community pharmacy, a descriptive pilot study

Renal function is associated with medication errors and related severe adverse events. The aim of this study was to explore the availability of renal function tests in Dutch community pharmacies to be used for medication safety surveillance in accordance with data sharing regulations of clinical laboratory tests as of 1 August 2013.

From five community pharmacies included in the PHARMO Database Network patients with an impaired renal function were selected based on linked laboratory assessments from PHARMO’s Clinical Laboratory Database and General Practitioner Database (<60 MDRD ml/min/1.73m2 without use of risk medication or <50 MDRD ml/min/1.73m2 when using risk medication). Data collection on site (in the community pharmacy) was performed to determine the available information on renal function at the pharmacy.

549 patients with a reduced kidney function were included in the study of which 273 without risk medication and 276 with risk medication. For 37% of patients with available information on impaired renal function in the PHARMO Database Network, this information was also available in their community pharmacy. This percentage varied from 16% to 77% between pharmacies and was 52% (25% to 74%) for patients who also used risk medication.

In conclusion, available information on renal function in community pharmacies is insufficient for patients with renal impairment. This hinders effective medication surveillance. Availability of information in the pharmacies might depend on the willingness of patients to share laboratory measures with their community pharmacists as well as the willingness of prescribers and laboratories to share this information. Future research should examine which factors are independently associated with the presence of available information and should be used for interventions focusing on improving information exchange with the community pharmacy.

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