Objective: To establish a clinically relevant list with explicit criteria for pharmacologically inappropriate prescriptions in general practice for elderly people > or =70 years.
Design: A three-round Delphi process for validating the clinical relevance of suggested criteria (n = 37) for inappropriate prescriptions to elderly patients.
Setting: A postal consensus process undertaken by a panel of specialists in general practice, clinical pharmacology, and geriatrics. Main outcome measures. The Norwegian General Practice (NORGEP) criteria, a relevance-validated list of drugs, drug dosages, and drug combinations to be avoided in the elderly (< or =70 years) patients.
Results: Of the 140 invited panellists, 57 accepted to participate and 47 completed all three rounds of the Delphi process. The panellists reached consensus that 36 of the 37 suggested criteria were clinically relevant for general practice. Relevance of three of the criteria was rated significantly higher in Round 3 than in Round 1. At the end of the Delphi process, a significant difference between the different specialist groups' scores was seen for only one of the 36 criteria.
Conclusion: The NORGEP criteria may serve as rules of thumb for general practitioners (GPs) related to their prescribing practice for elderly patients, and as a tool for evaluating the quality of GPs' prescribing in settings where access to clinical information for individual patients is limited, e.g. in prescription databases and quality improvement interventions.