Comparison of Prescribing Criteria to Evaluate the Appropriateness of Drug Treatment in Individuals Aged 65 and Older: A Systematic Review

Authors

  • Maarit S. Dimitrow MSc (Pharm),

    1. From the Division of Social Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Marja S. A. Airaksinen PhD,

    1. From the Division of Social Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Sirkka-Liisa Kivelä MD, PhD,

    1. Institute of Clinical Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
    2. Unit of Family Medicine, Turku University Hospital and Satakunta Hospital District, Pori, Finland
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  • Alan Lyles ScD, MPH,

    1. From the Division of Social Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
    2. College of Public Affairs, School of Health and Human Services, University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland.
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  • Saija N. S. Leikola MSc (Pharm)

    1. From the Division of Social Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
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Address correspondence to Maarit Dimitrow, Teipparintie 12 B, 48810 Kotka, Finland. E-mail: maarit.dimitrow@helsinki.fi

Abstract

Because inappropriate prescribing is prevalent in individuals aged 65 and older, various criteria to assess it have been developed. This study's aim was to systematically review articles that describe criteria for assessing inappropriate prescribing in individuals aged 65 and older and to define the circumstances of their use (explicit/implicit), origins, development processes, and content. A systematic search was conducted on MEDLINE and PubMed (1990–2010) and augmented with a manual search. Original articles written in English were included if they described the development of the criteria and were aimed at people aged 65 and older. Articles that described criteria applicable only in hospital settings, specific drugs, or a particular disease or condition were excluded. Sixteen of 535 articles met the inclusion criteria. They described 14 criteria, half originating in the United States. The English-language restriction limited the search results. Most criteria were explicit, consensus validated, based totally or partly on Beers criteria, and focused on pharmacological appropriateness of prescribing and some were old. Drug- and disease-oriented explicit criteria require regular updating and are country specific. Implicit, person-specific criteria are universal and do not need updating, although their use requires up-to-date professional skills. Unlike explicit criteria, implicit criteria have been validated in people. Some of the 14 criteria were noncomprehensive, mainly because of the intended purpose. To conclude, different criteria exist for optimizing prescribing for individuals aged 65 and older. Possible deficiencies must be recognized and trade-offs made when selecting criteria for use. In the future, more-comprehensive and -timely criteria are needed.

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