Predictive Validity of Beers and STOPP Criteria to Detect Adverse Drug Events in the United States

One of the largest concerns among the geriatric pharmacy community is being able to predict adverse drug events from medications that are inappropriate within the elderly population.  To help with reducing these adverse outcomes and emergency department visits, most geriatric health providers often turn to recommendation resources such as Beers criteria or the Screening Tool of Older Persons potentially inappropriate Prescriptions (STOPP) for guidance on drugs that are potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs).  The issue with these criteria is a lack of research into how sensitive and accurate they are for predicting ADE or ED visits among the elderly who may have indications for the medications.

A recent study by members of the University of Arkansas, College of Pharmacy published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society that assessed the predictive power of Beers and STOPP criteria for PIM in elderly populations.  The performed an eight-year retrospective cohort study on over 174,000 commercially insured patients over 65 years old, monitoring them for association between ADE and ED visits based on inappropriate medication use based on the criteria of either 2003 beers, 2012 Beers, or STOPP recommendations.  Over the course of the study, 41% of the patient population were exposed to a PIM from at least one of the criteria sets.  The 2012 Beers criteria identified PIMs in 34.1% of patients and STOPP identified in 27.6% of patients.  Observed differences are related to differences in classification of inappropriateness between the two identification systems.  The two criteria sets showed similar sensitivity and specificity, although they varied in predictive ability between drug classes, given variation in recommendations between classes of drugs for the two systems.

Both systems displayed acceptable prognostic power to predict adverse drug events in patients exposed to PIMs based on their individual criteria.  The study found no significant differences between the two systems in discrimination power for ADEs or ED visits, although the researchers did admit that further studies would be required to increase the predictive power of the criteria sets by medication classes.  This is the first study of its kind to look into the predictive ability of the major geriatric medication recommendations, and needs further assessment by other groups to get an accurate look at the medication lists for the elderly population in the United States.  What should pharmacists and other health care professionals be looking at to determine if our current recommendations are sufficient?  Do you have any ideas to help ensure the current system of geriatric cares are appropriate?

Article Link

Brown, J. D., Hutchison, L. C., Li, C., Painter, J. T. and Martin, B. C. Predictive Validity of the Beers and Screening Tool of Older Persons’ Potentially Inappropriate Prescriptions (STOPP) Criteria to Detect Adverse Drug Events, Hospitalizations, and Emergency Department Visits in the United States. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2016) 64: 22–30. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13884

3 thoughts on “Predictive Validity of Beers and STOPP Criteria to Detect Adverse Drug Events in the United States”

  1. The Beers Criteria and STOPP are both great ways to determine potentially inappropriate medications for older adults. I think pharmacists and physicians can use these as guides, but more importantly, should be working to stay up-to-date on current drug information and studies. There is no one method or tool that can prevent all PIM’s, but health care professionals have a responsibility to their patients to use educated judgments and any and all resources along, including their inter professional team, to ensure the safety of geriatric patients. I would be interested to see what the results on further studies are for this issue and how that could potentially affect geriatric practices in the future.

  2. This topic of unsafe medications for elderly patients seems particularly relevant as we are going to Silverscripts and have had our lectures with Dr. Ruby. I think that the concept of this article and study is the direction that we need to move in order to make sufficient medication recommendations. There need to be further studies on classes of drugs in the elderly and comparing those with the criteria and guidelines that we use.

  3. I also agree that the BEERS and STOPP criteria are important for detecting medications that may be unsafe in older adults. I think knowing this information or knowing to seek it as a reference as a pharmacist is important so that we have a valuable source of this information. I think that pharmacists should use the BEERS and STOPP criteria to help them make recommendations for elderly patients.

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