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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2014 Jan;70(1):1-11. doi: 10.1007/s00228-013-1575-8. Epub 2013 Sep 10.

Inappropriate prescribing: a systematic overview of published assessment tools.

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Pharmaceutical Care Research Group, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50, 4056, Basel, Switzerland,



Criteria to assess the appropriateness of prescriptions might serve as a helpful guideline during professional training and in daily practice, with the aim to improve a patient's pharmacotherapy.


To create a comprehensive and structured overview of existing tools to assess inappropriate prescribing.


Systematic literature search in Pubmed (1991-2013). The following properties of the tools were extracted and mapped in a structured way: approach (explicit, implicit), development method (consensus technique, expert panel, literature based), focused patient group, health care setting, and covered aspects of inappropriate prescribing.


The literature search resulted in 46 tools to assess inappropriate prescribing.Twenty-eight (61%) of 46 tools were explicit, 8 (17%) were implicit and 10 (22%) used a mixed approach. Thirty-six (78%) tools named older people as target patients and 10 (22%) tools did not specify the target age group. Four (8.5%) tools were designed to detect inappropriate prescribing in hospitalised patients, 9 (19.5%) focused on patients in ambulatory care and 6 (13%) were developed for use in long-term care. Twenty-seven (59%) tools did not specify the health care setting. Consensus methods were applied in the development of 19 tools (41%), the others were based on either simple expert panels (13; 28%) or on a literature search (11; 24%). For three tools (7%) the development method was not described.


This overview reveals the characteristics of 46 assessment tools and can serve as a summary to assist readers in choosing a tool, either for research purposes or for daily practice use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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