International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 119–126 | Cite as

Analysis of drug-related problems in three departments of a German University hospital

  • Rebekka LenssenEmail author
  • Axel Heidenreich
  • Jörg B. Schulz
  • Christian Trautwein
  • Christina Fitzner
  • Ulrich Jaehde
  • Albrecht Eisert
Research Article



During the last decades, pharmaceutical care services have been developed and implemented to optimize drug therapies and ensure medication safety. To investigate the need for pharmaceutical care services, drug-related problems can be measured.


Thus, the aim of this study was to analyse number, type and occurrence of drug-related problems in different clinical departments.


A pharmaceutical care service was established on general wards in Urology, Neurology and Gastroenterology at the University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany.


For each of a total of 306 patients, a pharmacist conducted an extended medication history, performed medication reconciliation, conducted medication safety checks and if drug-related problems were discovered, gave valid recommendations to the attending healthcare team. Drug-related problems were classified using the APS-Doc system. For statistical analyses, SAS® 9.1.3, SAS Institute, Cary NC, USA was applied. The project was approved by the local ethics committee.

Main outcome measure

Type, occurrence and frequency of DRP in different medical departments.


On average, 2.3 drug-related problems per patient were documented for all three departments. Drug-related problems were found in each category of the APS-Doc system. The most pronounced drug-related problems found were drug–drug interactions (34.6 %). 37 % of the identified drug-related problems occurred before hospital admission, 27 % during transitional care, and 36 % on the ward. Subgroup analysis revealed specific drug-related problem patterns for each clinical department. The number of drug-related problems was found to be associated with the number of drugs and age.


Drug-related problems frequently occur in all investigated clinical departments. A holistic pharmaceutical care service could be an option to address this issue. In case of limited resources, individual drug-related problem patterns can be used as a basis for a tailored pharmaceutical care service. As number of drugs and age have been shown to be significant risk factors, it is crucial that the healthcare team including the pharmacist pays special attention to elderly patients and those with polymedication.


Drug-related problems Gastroenterology Germany Medication safety Neurology Pharmaceutical care Urology Ward-based pharmacist 



We thank Mary Joan Blümich and Niklas Lenssen for carefully reading and discussing the English version of the manuscript.


We gratefully thank the Apothekerstiftung Nordrhein, Duesseldorf and the Foerderinitiative Pharmazeutische Betreuung e.V., Berlin for funding this project.

Conflicts of interest

Authors have no conflict of interest with regard to this research.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebekka Lenssen
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  • Axel Heidenreich
    • 2
  • Jörg B. Schulz
    • 3
  • Christian Trautwein
    • 4
  • Christina Fitzner
    • 5
  • Ulrich Jaehde
    • 6
  • Albrecht Eisert
    • 1
  1. 1.Hospital PharmacyUniversity Hospital RWTH AachenAachenGermany
  2. 2.Department of UrologyUniversity Hospital RWTH AachenAachenGermany
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital RWTH AachenAachenGermany
  4. 4.Department of Internal Medicine III, Gastroenterology, Metabolic Disorders and Internal Intensive MedicineUniversity Hospital RWTH AachenAachenGermany
  5. 5.Department of Medical StatisticsRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  6. 6.Institute of Pharmacy, Clinical PharmacyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

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