Potentially inappropriate prescribing in an Irish elderly population in primary care.

Cristín Ryan, Denis O'Mahony, Julia Kennedy, Peter Weedle, Stephen Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Citations (Scopus)


AIMS Screening tools have been formulated to identify potentially inappropriate prescribing (IP) in older people. Beers’ criteria are the most widely used but have disadvantages when used in Europe. New
IP screening tools called Screening Tool of Older Person’s Prescriptions (STOPP) and Screening Tool to Alert doctors to Right Treatment (START) have been developed to identify potential IP and potential prescribing omissions (PPOs). The aim was to measure the prevalence rates of potential IP and PPOs in primary care using Beers’ criteria, STOPP and START.

Case records of 1329 patients 65 years old from three general practices in one region of southern Ireland were studied. The mean age SD of the patients was 74.9 6.4 years, 60.9% were female. Patients’current diagnoses and prescription medicines were reviewed and the Beers’ criteria, STOPP and START tools applied.

The total number of medicines prescribed was 6684; median number of medicines per patient was ?ve (range 1–19). Overall, Beers’ criteria identi?ed 286 potentially inappropriate prescriptions in 18.3% (243) of patients, whilst the corresponding IP rate identi?ed by STOPP was 21.4% (284), in respect of 346 potentially inappropriate prescriptions. A total of 333 PPOs were identi?ed in 22.7% (302) of patients using the START tool.

Potentially inappropriate drug prescribing and errors of drug omission are highly prevalent among older people living in the community. Prevention strategies should involve primary care doctors and community pharmacists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-947
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number6
Early online date01 Sept 2009
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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