Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2019 Mar;75(3):427-432. doi: 10.1007/s00228-018-2598-y. Epub 2018 Nov 12.

Deprescribing in multi-morbid older people with polypharmacy: agreement between STOPPFrail explicit criteria and gold standard deprescribing using 100 standardized clinical cases.

Author information

Department of Geriatric Medicine, Cork University Hospital, Cork, T12 DC4A, Ireland.
Department of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
Department of Geriatric Medicine, Cork University Hospital, Cork, T12 DC4A, Ireland.
Department of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.



Older people with advanced frailty are among the highest consumers of medications. When life expectancy is limited, some of these medications are likely to be inappropriate. The aim of this study was to compare STOPPFrail, a concise, easy-to-use, deprescribing tool based on explicit criteria, with gold standard, systematic geriatrician-led deprescribing.


One hundred standardized clinical cases involving 1024 medications were prepared. Clinical cases were based on anonymized hospitalized patients aged ≥ 65 years, with advanced frailty (Clinical Frailty Scale ≥ 6), receiving ≥ 5 regular medications, who were selected from a recent observational study. Level of agreement between deprescribing methods was measured by Cohen's kappa coefficient. Sensitivity and positive predictive value of STOPPFrail-guided deprescribing relative to gold standard deprescribing was also measured.


Overall, 524 medications (51.2%) of medications prescribed to this frail, elderly cohort were potentially inappropriate by gold standard criteria. STOPPFrail-guided deprescribing led to the identification of 70.2% of the potentially inappropriate medications. Cohen's kappa was 0.60 (95% confidence interval 0.55-0.65; p < 0.001) indicating moderate agreement between STOPPFrail-guided and gold standard deprescribing. The positive predictive value of STOPPFrail was 89.3% indicating that the great majority of deprescribing decisions aligned with gold standard care.


STOPPFrail removes an important barrier to deprescribing by explicitly highlighting circumstances where commonly used medications can be safely deprescribed in older people with advanced frailty. Our results suggest that in multi-morbid older patients with advanced frailty, the use of STOPPFrail criteria to address inappropriate polypharmacy may be reasonable alternative to specialist medication review.


Deprescribing; Frailty; Multi-morbidity; Polypharmacy; STOPPFrail

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center