Focus and features of prescribing indications spanning multiple chronic conditions in older adults: A narrative review

Aubert, Carole E; Kerr, Eve A; Klamerus, Mandi L; Hofer, Timothy P; Wei, Melissa Y (2021). Focus and features of prescribing indications spanning multiple chronic conditions in older adults: A narrative review. Journal of Multimorbidity and Comorbidity, 11, p. 263355652110128. SAGE 10.1177/26335565211012876

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Background: Inappropriate prescribing is frequent in older adults and associated with adverse outcomes. Prescribing indications aim to optimize prescribing, but little is known about the focus and features of prescribing indications for the most common chronic conditions in older adults. Understanding the conditions, medications, and issues addressed (e.g., patient perspective, drug-disease interaction, adverse drug event) in current prescribing indications may help to identify missing indications and develop standardized measures to improve prescribing quality.

Methods: We searched Ovid/MEDLINE and EMBASE for articles published between 2015 and 2020 reporting prescribing indications for older adults. Prescribing indication included 1) prescribing “criteria,” or statements that guide prescribing action, and 2) prescribing “measures,” or prescribing actions observed in a population. We categorized their focus by conditions, medications and issues addressed, as well as level of evidence provided.

Results: Among 16 sets of prescribing indications, we identified 748 criteria and 47 measures. The most common addressed medications were antihypertensives, analgesics/antirheumatics, and antiplatelets/anticoagulants. The most frequently addressed issues were drug-disease interaction, adverse drug event, administration, better therapeutic alternative, and (co-)prescription omission (20.8–36.1%). Age/functioning, drug-drug interaction, monitoring, and efficacy/ safety ratio were found in only 9.9–16.5% of indications. Indications rarely focused on the patient perspective or issues with multiple providers.

Conclusion: Most prescribing indications for chronic conditions in older patients are criteria rather than measures. Indications accounting for patient perspective and multiple providers are limited. The gaps identified in this review may help improve the development of prescribing measures for older adults and ultimately improve quality of care.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Clinic of General Internal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)

UniBE Contributor:

Aubert, Carole Elodie


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services






[4] Swiss National Science Foundation




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

27 May 2021 21:39

Last Modified:

30 May 2021 03:07

Publisher DOI:





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