STOPPFrail (Screening Tool of Older Persons Prescriptions in Frail adults with limited life expectancy): consensus validation

Age Ageing. 2017 Jul 1;46(4):600-607. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afx005.


Objective: to validate STOPPFrail, a list of explicit criteria for potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use in frail older adults with limited life expectancy.

Design: a Delphi consensus survey of an expert panel comprising academic geriatricians, clinical pharmacologists, palliative care physicians, old age psychiatrists, general practitioners and clinical pharmacists.

Setting: Ireland.

Subjects: seventeen panellists.

Methods: STOPPFrail criteria were initially created by the authors based on clinical experience and literature appraisal. Criteria were organised according to the physiological system; each criterion accompanied by an explanation. Using Delphi consensus methodology, panellists ranked their agreement with each criterion on a 5-point Likert scale and provided written feedback. Criteria with a median Likert response of 4/5 (agree/strongly agree) and a 25th centile of ≥4 were included in the final list.

Results: all panellists completed three Delphi rounds. Thirty criteria were proposed, 27 were accepted. The first two criteria suggest deprescribing medications without indication or where compliance is poor. The remaining 25 criteria include lipid-lowering therapies, alpha-blockers for hypertension, anti-platelets, neuroleptics, memantine, proton-pump inhibitors, H2-receptor antagonists, anti-spasmodic agents, theophylline, leukotriene antagonists, calcium supplements, bone anti-resorptive therapy, selective oestrogen receptor modulators, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids, 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, alpha-1-selective blockers, muscarinic antagonists, oral diabetic agents, ACE-inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, systemic oestrogens, multivitamins, nutritional supplements and prophylactic antibiotics. Consensus could not be reached on the inclusion of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Full consensus was reached on the exclusion of anticoagulants and antidepressants from the list.

Conclusion: STOPPFrail comprises 27 criteria relating to medications that are potentially inappropriate in frail older patients with limited life expectancy. STOPPFrail may assist physicians in deprescribing medications in these patients.

Keywords: deprescribing; explicit criteria older people; frail; life expectancy; polypharmacy.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique
  • Deprescriptions*
  • Drug Prescriptions*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / etiology
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing*
  • Ireland
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Male
  • Potentially Inappropriate Medication List*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Risk Factors