Sustained effectiveness of a multifaceted intervention to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing in older patients in primary care (OPTI-SCRIPT study).

BACKGROUND: Potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) is common in older people in primary care and can result in increased morbidity, adverse drug events and hospitalisations. We previously demonstrated the success of a multifaceted intervention in decreasing PIP in primary care in a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT).

OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine whether the improvement in PIP in the short term was sustained at 1-year follow-up.

METHODS: A cluster RCT was conducted with 21 GP practices and 196 patients (aged ≥70) with PIP in Irish primary care. Intervention participants received a complex multifaceted intervention incorporating academic detailing, medicine review with web-based pharmaceutical treatment algorithms that provide recommended alternative treatment options, and tailored patient information leaflets. Control practices delivered usual care and received simple, patient-level PIP feedback. Primary outcomes were the proportion of patients with PIP and the mean number of potentially inappropriate prescriptions at 1-year follow-up. Intention-to-treat analysis using random effects regression was used.

RESULTS: All 21 GP practices and 186 (95 %) patients were followed up. We found that at 1-year follow-up, the significant reduction in the odds of PIP exposure achieved during the intervention was sustained after its discontinuation (adjusted OR 0.28, 95 % CI 0.11 to 0.76, P = 0.01). Intervention participants had significantly lower odds of having a potentially inappropriate proton pump inhibitor compared to controls (adjusted OR 0.40, 95 % CI 0.17 to 0.94, P = 0.04).

CONCLUSION: The significant reduction in the odds of PIP achieved during the intervention was sustained after its discontinuation. These results indicate that improvements in prescribing quality can be maintained over time.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current controlled trials ISRCTN41694007 .