Interventions to Address Potentially Inappropriate Prescribing in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Jun;64(6):1210-22. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14133.


Objectives: To perform a systematic review to determine the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) in community-dwelling older adults.

Design: Systematic review and narrative synthesis.

Setting: Primary and community care.

Participants: Community-dwelling older adults.

Measurements: The primary outcome was change in PIP measured using implicit or explicit tools. Studies were grouped into organizational, professional, financial, regulatory, and multifaceted interventions.

Results: Twelve randomized controlled trials were identified with baseline PIP prevalence of 18% to 100%. Four of six organizational interventions reported a reduction in PIP, particularly through pharmacists conducting medication reviews. Evidence of the effectiveness of multidisciplinary teams was weak. Both of the two professional (targeting prescriber's directly) interventions were computerized clinical decision support interventions and were effective in decreasing new PIP but not existing PIP. Three of four multifaceted approaches were effective in reducing PIP. The risk of bias was often high, particularly in reporting selection bias.

Conclusion: Interventions including organizational (pharmacist interventions), professional (computerized clinical decision support systems), and multifaceted approaches appear beneficial in terms of reducing PIP, but the range of effect sizes reported was modest, and it is unclear whether such interventions can result in clinically significant improvements in patient outcomes. Ongoing assessment of interventions to reduce PIP is needed in community-dwelling older adults, particularly in relation to preventing initiation of PIP.

Keywords: community dwelling; intervention; older people; potentially inappropriate prescribing; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / prevention & control*
  • Independent Living*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic