Prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing in a subpopulation of older European clinical trial participants: a cross-sectional study.

25 Jun 2018

OBJECTIVES: To estimate and compare the prevalence and type of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) and potential prescribing omissions (PPOs) among community-dwelling older adults (≥65 years) enrolled to a clinical trial in three European countries. DESIGN: A secondary analysis of the Thyroid Hormone Replacement for Subclinical Hypothyroidism Trial dataset. PARTICIPANTS: A subset of 48/80 PIP and 22/34 PPOs indicators from the Screening Tool of Older Persons Prescriptions/Screening Tool to Alert doctors to Right Treatment (STOPP/START) V2 criteria were applied to prescribed medication data for 532/737 trial participants in Ireland, Switzerland and the Netherlands. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of PIP was lower in the Irish participants (8.7%) compared with the Swiss (16.7%) and Dutch (12.5%) participants (P=0.15) and was not statistically significant. The overall prevalence of PPOs was approximately one-quarter in the Swiss (25.3%) and Dutch (24%) participants and lower in the Irish (14%) participants (P=0.04) and the difference was statistically significant. The hypnotic Z-drugs were the most frequent PIP in Irish participants, (3.5%, n=4), while it was non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and oral anticoagulant combination, sulfonylureas with a long duration of action, and benzodiazepines (all 4.3%, n=7) in Swiss, and benzodiazepines (7.1%, n=18) in Dutch participants. The most frequent PPOs in Irish participants were vitamin D and calcium in osteoporosis (3.5%, n=4). In the Swiss and Dutch participants, they were bone antiresorptive/anabolic therapy in osteoporosis (9.9%, n=16, 8.6%, n=22) respectively. The odds of any PIP after adjusting for age, sex, multimorbidity and polypharmacy were (adjusted OR (aOR)) 3.04 (95% CI 1.33 to 6.95, P<0.01) for Swiss participants and aOR 1.74 (95% CI 0.79 to 3.85, P=0.17) for Dutch participants compared with Irish participants. The odds of any PPOs were aOR 2.48 (95% CI 1.27 to 4.85, P<0.01) for Swiss participants and aOR 2.10 (95% CI 1.11 to 3.96, P=0.02) for Dutch participants compared with Irish participants. CONCLUSIONS: This study has estimated and compared the prevalence and type of PIP and PPOs among this cohort of community-dwelling older people. It demonstrated a significant difference in the prevalence of PPOs between the three populations. Further research is urgently needed into the impact of system level factors as this has important implications for patient safety, healthcare provision and economic costs.