The development of the PROMPT (PRescribing Optimally in Middle-aged People’s Treatments) criteria

Janine A Cooper, Cristín Ryan, Susan M Smith, Emma Wallace, Kathleen Bennett, Caitriona Cahir, David Williams, Mary Teeling, Tom Fahey, Carmel M Hughes, (The PROMPT Steering Group)

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BACKGROUND: Whilst multimorbidity is more prevalent with increasing age, approximately 30% of middle-aged adults (45-64 years) are also affected. Several prescribing criteria have been developed to optimise medication use in older people (≥65 years) with little focus on potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) in middle-aged adults. We have developed a set of explicit prescribing criteria called PROMPT (PRescribing Optimally in Middle-aged People's Treatments) which may be applied to prescribing datasets to determine the prevalence of PIP in this age-group.

METHODS: A literature search was conducted to identify published prescribing criteria for all age groups, with the Project Steering Group (convened for this study) adding further criteria for consideration, all of which were reviewed for relevance to middle-aged adults. These criteria underwent a two-round Delphi process, using an expert panel consisting of general practitioners, pharmacists and clinical pharmacologists from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Using web-based questionnaires, 17 panellists were asked to indicate their level of agreement with each criterion via a 5-point Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Agree) to assess the applicability to middle-aged adults in the absence of clinical information. Criteria were accepted/rejected/revised dependent on the panel's level of agreement using the median response/interquartile range and additional comments.

RESULTS: Thirty-four criteria were rated in the first round of this exercise and consensus was achieved on 17 criteria which were accepted into the PROMPT criteria. Consensus was not reached on the remaining 17, and six criteria were removed following a review of the additional comments. The second round of this exercise focused on the remaining 11 criteria, some of which were revised following the first exercise. Five criteria were accepted from the second round, providing a final list of 22 criteria [gastro-intestinal system (n = 3), cardiovascular system (n = 4), respiratory system (n = 4), central nervous system (n = 6), infections (n = 1), endocrine system (n = 1), musculoskeletal system (n = 2), duplicates (n = 1)].

CONCLUSIONS: PROMPT is the first set of prescribing criteria developed for use in middle-aged adults. The utility of these criteria will be tested in future studies using prescribing datasets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number484
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2014


  • Potentially inappropriate prescribing, Explicit criteria, Delphi technique, Middle-age, Polypharmacy, Multimorbidity

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    Cooper, J. A., Ryan, C., Smith, S. M., Wallace, E., Bennett, K., Cahir, C., Williams, D., Teeling, M., Fahey, T., Hughes, C. M., & (The PROMPT Steering Group) (2014). The development of the PROMPT (PRescribing Optimally in Middle-aged People’s Treatments) criteria. BMC Health Services Research, 14, [484].