Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Feb;65(2):199-207. doi: 10.1007/s00228-008-0558-7. Epub 2008 Sep 21.

Combined intervention programme reduces inappropriate prescribing in elderly patients exposed to polypharmacy in primary care.

Author information

  • 1The Danish Medicines Agency, Axel Heides Gade 1, 2300, Copenhagen S, Denmark.



To evaluate the effect of a combined or a single educational intervention on the prescribing behaviour of general practitioners (GPs). The primary endpoint was effect on inappropriate prescribing according to the Medication Appropriateness Index (MAI).


General practitioners were randomised to either (1) a combined intervention consisting of an interactive educational meeting plus feedback on participating patients' medication, (2) a single intervention with an interactive educational meeting or (3) a control group (no intervention). Elderly (>65 years) patients exposed to polypharmacy (>or=5 medications) were identified and approached for inclusion. Data on medications prescribed over a 3-month period were collected, and the GPs provided detailed information on their patients before and after the intervention. A pre- and post-MAI were scored for all medications.


Of the 277 GPs invited to participate; 41 (14.8%) volunteered. Data were obtained from 166 patients before and after the intervention. Medication appropriateness improved in the combined intervention group but not in the single intervention group. The mean change in MAI and number of medications was -5 [95% confidence interval (CI) -7.3 to -2.6] and -1.03 (95% CI -1.7 to -0.30) in the combined intervention group compared with the group with the educational meeting only and the no intervention group.


A combined intervention consisting of an interactive educational meeting plus recommendations given by clinical pharmacologists/pharmacists concerning specific patients can improve the appropriateness of prescribing among elderly patients exposed to polypharmacy. This study adds to the limited number of well-controlled, randomised studies on overall medication appropriateness among elderly patients in primary care. Important limitations to the study include variability in data provided by participating GPs and a low number of GPs volunteering for the study.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Support Center