BACKGROUND: Patients with chronic kidney disease have multiple comorbidities and require complicated therapeutic regimens. The role of pharmacists caring for these patients has been documented, but no review of the impact of these interventions has occurred to date. The aim of this work is to assess the impact of pharmacists' interventions in patients with chronic kidney disease. METHODS: Medline, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, Pharmacy Abstracts and the Cochrane Library were searched for quantitative studies addressing the contribution of pharmacists' interventions in patients with chronic kidney disease. Quality of controlled studies was assessed using the Downs and Black scale. RESULTS: The search identified 37 studies (38 articles), involving 4743 participants, eligible for inclusion in the review. An uncontrolled design corresponded with 80% of the studies. Twenty-one articles (55.3%) reported outcome measures and process indicators, 4 (10.5%) reported only outcome measures and 13 (34.2%) reported only process indicators. Pharmacists identified 2683 drug-related problems in 1209 patients. The results from eight controlled studies (average quality score 0.57, SD = 0.10) demonstrated that pharmacists' interventions reduced all-cause hospitalisations [mean (SD) 1.8 (2.4) versus 3.1 (3.0), P = 0.02] and cumulative time hospitalised [mean (SD) 9.7 (14.7) versus 15.5 (16.3) days, P = 0.06], reduced the incidence of end-stage renal disease or death in patients with diabetic nephropathy (14.8 versus 28.2 per 100 patient-years, adjusted relative risk 60%, P < 0.001), improved management of anemia (mean 69.8 versus 43.9%, P = 0.0001 and 64.8 versus 40.4%, P = 0.043 patients on goal hemoglobin and transferrin saturation, respectively), blood pressure [systolic mean (SD) 145.3 (16.8) versus 175.8 (33.9) mmHg, P = 0.029; diastolic mean (SD) 77.0 (10.2) versus 91.8 (12.0) mmHg, P = 0.020], calcium and phosphate parameters [serum phosphate levels mean (SD) 1.81 (0.54) versus 2.07 (0.25) mmol/L, P = 0.03; calcium-phosphate product mean (SD) 4.43 (1.20) versus 4.80 (0.51) mmol(2)/L(2), P = 0.04] and lipid management [total cholesterol mean (SD) 4.4 (1.1) versus 5.0 (1.4) mmol/L, P = 0.06; low density lipoprotein cholesterol mean (SD) 2.3 (0.9) versus 2.8 (1.0) mmol/L, P = 0.013]. Results from uncontrolled studies revealed positive impact of pharmacists' interventions on reduced number of transplant rejections [mean (SD) 0.22 (0.42) versus 0.50 (0.51) episodes, P = 0.008] and adverse events (49 in 16.0% patients versus 73 in 21.3% patients, P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The evidence of pharmacists' interventions in patients with chronic kidney disease is sparse, of variable quality and with heterogeneous outcomes. On the basis of best available evidence, pharmacists' interventions may have a positive impact on outcomes of patients with chronic kidney disease.