Background: The practice of inappropriate medication and drug prescription is a major risk factor for adverse drug reactions in geriatric patients and increases the individual, as well as overall, rates of hospital admissions, resulting in increased health care expenditures. A consensus-based list of drugs, generally to be avoided in geriatric patients, is a practical tool to possibly improve the quality of prescribing.
Objective: The aim was to develop a consensus-based list of potentially inappropriate medications (PIM) for geriatric patients in Austria. Local market characteristics and documented prescribing regimens were considered in detail.
Methods: A two-round Delphi process involving eight experts in the field of geriatric medicine was undertaken to create a list of potentially inappropriate medications. Using a 5-point Likert scale (from strong agreement to strong disagreement), mean ratings from the experts were evaluated for each drug selected in the first round. The participants were first asked to comment on the potential inappropriateness of a preliminary list of drugs, and to propose alternate substances missing in the previous questionnaire for a second rating process. All drugs whose upper limit of the 95% CI was less than 3.0 were classified as potentially inappropriate. Drugs with a 95% CI enclosing 3.0 entered a second rating by the experts, in addition to other substances suggested during the first questionnaire. Drugs in the second rating were evaluated in comparable fashion to the first one. The final list was synthesized from the results in both rounds.
Results: Out of a preliminary list of 102 drugs, 61 drugs (59.2%) were classified as potentially inappropriate for geriatric persons in the first Delphi- round. In the second rating, six drugs that were reevaluated, and six drugs proposed additionally, were rated as potentially inappropriate. The final list contains 73 drugs to be avoided in older patients because of an unfavorable benefit/risk profile and/or unproven effectiveness. The list also contains suggestions for therapeutic alternatives and information about pharmacological and pharmacokinetic characteristics of all drugs judged as potentially inappropriate.
Conclusion: The current Austrian list of potentially inappropriate medications may be a helpful tool for clinicians to increase the quality of prescribing in older patients. Like all explicit lists previously published, its validity needs to be proven in validation studies.