Potentially inappropriate medications defined by STOPP criteria and the risk of adverse drug events in older hospitalized patients

Arch Intern Med. 2011 Jun 13;171(11):1013-9. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.215.


Background: Previous studies have not demonstrated a consistent association between potentially inappropriate medicines (PIMs) in older patients as defined by Beers criteria and avoidable adverse drug events (ADEs). This study aimed to assess whether PIMs defined by new STOPP (Screening Tool of Older Persons' potentially inappropriate Prescriptions) criteria are significantly associated with ADEs in older people with acute illness.

Methods: We prospectively studied 600 consecutive patients 65 years or older who were admitted with acute illness to a university teaching hospital over a 4-month interval. Potentially inappropriate medicines were defined by both Beers and STOPP criteria. Adverse drug events were defined by World Health Organization-Uppsala Monitoring Centre criteria and verified by a local expert consensus panel, which also assessed whether ADEs were causal or contributory to current hospitalization. Hallas criteria defined ADE avoidability. We compared the proportions of patients taking Beers criteria PIMs and STOPP criteria PIMs with avoidable ADEs that were causal or contributory to admission.

Results: A total of 329 ADEs were detected in 158 of 600 patients (26.3%); 219 of 329 ADEs (66.6%) were considered causal or contributory to admission. Of the 219 ADEs, 151 (68.9%) considered causal or contributory to admission were avoidable or potentially avoidable. After adjusting for age, sex, comorbidity, dementia, baseline activities of daily living function, and number of medications, the likelihood of a serious avoidable ADE increased significantly when STOPP PIMs were prescribed (odds ratio, 1.847; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.506-2.264; P < .001); prescription of Beers criteria PIMs did not significantly increase ADE risk (odds ratio, 1.276; 95% CI, 0.945-1.722; P = .11).

Conclusion: STOPP criteria PIMs, unlike Beers criteria PIMs, are significantly associated with avoidable ADEs in older people that cause or contribute to urgent hospitalization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Comorbidity
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / adverse effects*
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Inpatients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ireland
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Polypharmacy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk