Potentially Inappropriate Prescribing and Related Hospital Admissions in Geriatric Patients: A Comparative Analysis between the STOPP and START Criteria Versions 1 and 2

  • Stefanie ThevelinEmail author
  • Leïla El Mounaouar
  • Sophie Marien
  • Benoit Boland
  • Séverine Henrard
  • Olivia Dalleur
Original Research Article



Older persons are at significant risk of drug-related admissions (DRAs). We previously demonstrated that 27% of hospitalizations in geriatric patients were associated with potentially inappropriate medicines (PIMs) and/or potential prescribing omissions (PPOs) identified by the Screening Tool of Older People’s Prescriptions/Screening Tool to Alert to Right Treatment (STOPP/START) criteria version 1 (v1). The updated STOPP/START criteria version 2 (v2) comprised a 31% increase in prescribing criteria.


As a secondary analysis of our study conducted in 2008, we aimed to compare the prevalence and types of DRAs identified by STOPP/START.v1 and STOPP/START.v2.


We applied the STOPP/START.v2 criteria to a subset of 100 consecutively admitted geriatric patients selected from our original cross-sectional study of 302 patients. A geriatrician and a pharmacist adjudicated whether the identified PIMs and PPOs were related to acute hospitalization. Admissions were defined as DRAs if the identified PIM(s) and/or PPO(s) were related to the main cause of admission or played a significant contributory role in the admission.


The median patient age was 83 years and the median number of medications at home was 8. Compared with STOPP/START.v1, STOPP/START.v2 not only yielded more instances of inappropriate prescribing but also targeted significantly more PIMs and PPOs associated with preventable DRAs (23% vs. 40% of all admissions, p < 0.001). PIMs of fall-risk-increasing drugs, and PPOs of musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system drugs, were most frequently associated with DRAs.


The latter instances of inappropriate prescribing with major clinical relevance warrant particular attention during medication review in older persons.



The authors would like to thank Adeline Gaillet and Alexandra Le Brun for their assistance with data collection.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Conflict of interest

Stefanie Thevelin, Leïla El Mounaouar, Sophie Marien, Benoit Boland, Séverine Henrard, and Olivia Dalleur have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this study.

Supplementary material

40266_2018_635_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (432 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 432 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Pharmacy Research Group, Louvain Drug Research InstituteUniversité catholique de LouvainBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Medical SchoolUniversité catholique de LouvainBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Geriatric Medicine, Cliniques universitaires Saint-LucUniversité catholique de LouvainBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.Institute of Health and Society (IRSS)Université catholique de LouvainBrusselsBelgium
  5. 5.Pharmacy Department, Cliniques universitaires Saint-LucUniversité catholique de LouvainBrusselsBelgium

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