Quality of critical care clinical practice guidelines involving pharmacotherapy recommendations

Christopher Edwards, Jonathan Lam, Jordan Gardiner, Brian L. Erstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: To assess the quality of critical care clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) involving pharmacotherapy recommendations. METHODS: A systematic electronic search was performed using PubMed, MEDLINE, and Embase for critical care CPGs published between 2012 and 2022 and involving pharmacotherapy recommendations. The Appraisal of Guidelines for Research & Evaluation II (AGREE II) instrument was employed to appraise CPG quality through independent assessment by 2 appraisers. RESULTS: Twenty-one CPGs were evaluated. The number of recommendations in each guideline ranged from 2 to 250, with a total of 1,604 recommendations. The number of strong (vs weak) recommendations in each guideline ranged from 0 to 31, with a total of 116 strong recommendations, or 7.23% of the total number of recommendations. There was at least 1 pharmacist author for 9 (43%) of the guidelines. The AGREE II domains for which mean quality scores of evaluated guidelines were highest were scope and purpose (0.88; 95% CI, 0.85-0.92), rigor of development (0.80; 95% CI, 0.77-0.83), clarity of presentation (0.84; 95% CI, 0.81-0.87), and editorial independence (0.86; 95% CI, 0.79-0.94), while those for which mean scores were lowest were stakeholder involvement (0.69; 95% CI, 0.63-0.75) and applicability (0.49; 95% CI, 0.43-0.55). Involvement of a pharmacist in CPG development was associated with significantly higher scoring for stakeholder involvement (P = 0.0356). CONCLUSION: Strong recommendations accounted for less than 10% of the recommendations in the evaluated CPGs. Moreover, there are concerns related to guideline applicability (ie, advice or tools for putting recommendations into practice) and stakeholder involvement (ie, inclusion of individuals from all relevant groups). It is important to involve pharmacists in CPGs with pharmacotherapy recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1919-1924
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Issue number21
StatePublished - Oct 21 2022


  • clinical practice guidelines
  • critical care
  • medication
  • pharmacotherapy
  • pharmacy
  • quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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