Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 647–654 | Cite as

Drug therapy problems found in ambulatory patient populations in Minnesota and South Australia

  • Deepa RaoEmail author
  • Andrew Gilbert
  • Linda M. Strand
  • Robert J. Cipolle
Research Article



To compare drug therapy problems identified by pharmacists in two patient samples, the Minnesota Sample and the South Australian Sample.


Two patient samples were selected for this comparison. Both sets of patients received pharmaceutical care services from pharmaceutical care practitioners between March 1999 and February 2000. The two databases were then compared for common drug therapy problems.

Main outcome measure

Comparison of drug therapy problems in the two samples.


Both patient samples included patients who were 40 years of age or older. The Minnesota Sample included 1,598 individual patients, of whom 70% experienced one or more drug therapy problems at some time during their care. The South Australian Sample included a total of 982 patients of whom 90% experienced one or more drug therapy problems at some time during their care. Conditions common to both patient samples include hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, ischemic heart disease, and osteoporosis. Frequently occurring drug therapy problems in the Minnesota Sample included the need for additional drug therapy, dosage too low and non-compliance and in the South Australian Sample included non-compliance, additional drug therapy and ineffective drug therapy. Frequent drug therapy problems associated with medical conditions in the Minnesota Sample included addition of new therapies for conditions such as arthritis, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and allergic rhinitis, while for the South Australian Sample included compliance issues with conditions such as asthma, diabetes mellitus, angina and digestive disorders. Frequent drug therapy problems with associated drug classes in the Minnesota Sample included additional therapy for classes such as salicylates and calcium supplements, while in the South Australian Sample included the need for therapy for pneumococcal vaccines, salicylates, calcium supplements and tetanus vaccines.


These data demonstrate that this age group has significant drug therapy problems and therefore emphasize the need for pharmaceutical care services in this population. The provision of pharmaceutical care by experienced practitioners can result in improved recognition of the full range of drug therapy problems confronting patients. Analyses such as those presented here provide information to better focus the training of practitioners based on the most frequently encountered health problems and the nature of common drug therapy problems in the community setting.


Australia Drug-related problems Drug therapy problems Home medicines review Medication therapy management Pharmaceutical care USA 



The authors would like to acknowledge Mr John Barratt from the University of South Australia and Dr Michael Frakes from the University of Minnesota for their assistance in the data analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deepa Rao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrew Gilbert
    • 1
  • Linda M. Strand
    • 2
  • Robert J. Cipolle
    • 2
  1. 1.Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre, Sansom Institute, School of Pharmacy and Medical SciencesUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.College of PharmacyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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