Community pharmacists' evaluation of potentially inappropriate prescribing in older community-dwelling patients with polypharmacy: observational research based on the GheOP3S tool

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In this study, we aimed to (i) determine the prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) in community-dwelling older polypharmacy patients using the Ghent Older People's Prescriptions community-Pharmacy Screening (GheOP3S) tool, (ii) identify the items that account for the highest proportion of PIP and (iii) identify the patient variables that may influence the occurrence of PIP. Additionally, pharmacist-physician contacts emerging from PIP screening with the GheOP3S tool and feasibility of the GheOP3S tool in daily practice were evaluated.


A prospective observational study was carried out between December 2013 and July 2014 in 204 community pharmacies in Belgium. Patients were eligible if they were (i) ≥70 years, (ii) community-dwelling, (iii) using ≥5 chronic drugs, (iv) a regular visitor of the pharmacy and (v) understanding Dutch or French. Community pharmacists used a structured interview to obtain demographic data and medication use and subsequently screened for PIP using the GheOP3S tool. A Poisson regression was used to investigate the association between different covariates and the number of PIP.


In 987 (97%) of 1016 included patients, 3721 PIP items were detected (median of 3 per patient; inter quartile range: 2-5). Most frequently involved with PIP are drugs for the central nervous system such as hypnosedatives, antipsychotics and antidepressants. Risk factors for a higher PIP prevalence appeared to be a higher number of drugs (30% extra PIPs per 5 extra drugs), female gender (20% extra PIPs), higher body mass index (BMI, 20% extra PIPs per 10-unit increase in BMI) and poorer functional status (30% extra PIPs with 6-point increase). The feasibility of the GheOP3S tool was acceptable although digitalization of the tool would improve implementation. Despite detecting at least one PIP in 987 patients, only 39 physicians were contacted by the community pharmacists to discuss the items.


A high prevalence of PIP in community-dwelling older polypharmacy patients in Belgium was detected which urges for interventions to reduce PIP.

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