Potentially inappropriate prescribing detected by STOPP-START criteria: are they really inappropriate?

Isabel Lozano-Montoya, Manuel Vélez-Diaz-Pallarés, Eva Delgado-Silveira, Beatriz Montero-Errasquin, Alfonso Jose Cruz Jentoft
Age and Ageing 2015, 44 (5): 861-6

BACKGROUND: the STOPP-START criteria were developed to detect potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) in older people. The reasons why multidisciplinary geriatric teams decide not to follow STOPP-START criteria have not been studied.

OBJECTIVE: to analyse compliance with the recommendations of the STOPP-START criteria in older inpatients.

DESIGN: ambispective, non-randomised study. SUBJECTS SETTING: three hundred and eighty-eight consecutive patients aged 80 years or over admitted to the acute geriatric medicine unit of a University hospital.

METHODS: STOPP-START criteria were systematically used by a pharmacist to assess pre-admission treatments, and the multidisciplinary geriatric team decided what drugs were recommended after discharge. Two researches independently assessed how many STOPP-START recommendations were accepted by the team, and if they were not accepted, why.

RESULTS: two hundred and eighty-four PIPs were identified (0.8 per subject) according to STOPP criteria. Two hundred and forty-seven of these prescriptions (87.0%) were discontinued at discharge. STOPP recommendations were not accepted in 37 cases, mostly because the team considered other therapeutic priorities (lorazepam, n = 12; risperidone, n = 5; other, n = 18). Three hundred and ninety-seven PIPs were identified according to START criteria (1.1 per subject). START recommendations were not followed at discharge in 264 cases (66.5%). The most frequent reasons were as follows: severe disability (n = 90), the use of other effective treatments for the condition (n = 38) and high risk of severe adverse effects (n = 32). Not following START criteria was significantly associated with dependency for basic activities of daily living (ADLs) (odds ratio, OR: 0.66 for compliance with a recommendation; 0.49-0.89), dependency for instrumental ADLs (OR: 0.64; 0.48-0.85) or inability to walk (OR: 0.72; 0.54-0.98).

CONCLUSIONS: potentially inappropriate drugs are usually discontinued, but many older hospitalised patients do not receive potentially recommended medications. More research on the reasons and consequences of this fact is needed.

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