Inappropriate medication use in the elderly

Alicia M Petrarca, Aaron J Lengel, Michelle N Mangan
Consultant Pharmacist: the Journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists 2012, 27 (8): 583-6
STOPP (Screening Tool of Older Persons' Prescriptions) and START (Screening Tool to Alert doctors to Right Treatment) are relatively new, validated tools that increasingly are used together to identify prescribing errors in elderly patients. This article reviews two studies that have directly compared STOPP with the Beers criteria, which is the current standard tool used to identify potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) in older patients. Both studies reveal greater correlations to adverse drug events (ADEs) with PIMs defined by STOPP than with those defined by the Beers criteria, suggesting STOPP may be more useful in practice. Additional studies are needed to confirm STOPP's greater sensitivity and to determine whether its use translates to improved patient outcomes such as decreased morbidity, mortality, and health care costs. If so, pharmacists should consider implementation of STOPP (with or without START) in practice to improve care for the elderly population.

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