• Addressing potentially inappropriate prescribing in older patients: development and pilot study of an intervention in primary care (the OPTI-SCRIPT study)

      Clyne, Barbara; Bradley, Marie C; Hughes, Carmel M; Clear, Daniel; McDonnell, Ronan; Williams, David; Fahey, Tom; Smith, Susan M; on behalf of the OPTI-SCRIPT study team (2013-08-14)
      Abstract Background Potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) in older people is common in primary care and can result in increased morbidity, adverse drug events, hospitalizations and mortality. The prevalence of PIP in Ireland is estimated at 36% with an associated expenditure of over €45 million in 2007. The aim of this paper is to describe the application of the Medical Research Council (MRC) framework to the development of an intervention to decrease PIP in Irish primary care. Methods The MRC framework for the design and evaluation of complex interventions guided the development of the study intervention. In the development stage, literature was reviewed and combined with information obtained from experts in the field using a consensus based methodology and patient cases to define the main components of the intervention. In the pilot stage, five GPs tested the proposed intervention. Qualitative interviews were conducted with the GPs to inform the development and implementation of the intervention for the main randomised controlled trial. Results The literature review identified PIP criteria for inclusion in the study and two initial intervention components - academic detailing and medicines review supported by therapeutic treatment algorithms. Through patient case studies and a focus group with a group of 8 GPs, these components were refined and a third component of the intervention identified - patient information leaflets. The intervention was tested in a pilot study. In total, eight medicine reviews were conducted across five GP practices. These reviews addressed ten instances of PIP, nine of which were addressed in the form of either a dose reduction or a discontinuation of a targeted medication. Qualitative interviews highlighted that GPs were receptive to the intervention but patient preference and time needed both to prepare for and conduct the medicines review, emerged as potential barriers. Findings from the pilot study allowed further refinement to produce the finalised intervention of academic detailing with a pharmacist, medicines review with web-based therapeutic treatment algorithms and tailored patient information leaflets. Conclusions The MRC framework was used in the development of the OPTI-SCRIPT intervention to decrease the level of PIP in primary care in Ireland. Its application ensured that the intervention was developed using the best available evidence, was acceptable to GPs and feasible to deliver in the clinical setting. The effectiveness of this intervention is currently being tested in a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial. Trial registration Current controlled trials ISRCTN41694007
    • Behavioural change in relation to alcohol exposure in early pregnancy and impact on perinatal outcomes - a prospective cohort study

      Murphy, Deirdre J; Mullally, Aoife; Cleary, Brian J; Fahey, Tom; Barry, Joe (2013-01-16)
      Abstract Background There has been limited research addressing whether behavioural change in relation to alcohol exposure in pregnancy results in better perinatal outcomes. Methods A cohort study of 6725 women who booked for antenatal care and delivered in a large urban teaching hospital in 2010–2011. A detailed history of alcohol consumption pre-pregnancy and during early pregnancy was recorded at the first antenatal visit with follow-up of the mother and infant until discharge following birth. Adverse perinatal outcomes were compared for ‘non-drinkers’, ‘ex-drinkers’ and ‘current drinkers’. Results Of the 6017 (90%) women who reported alcohol consumption prior to pregnancy 3325 (55%) engaged in binge drinking and 266 (4.4%) consumed more than 14 units on average per week. At the time of booking 5649 (94%) women were ex-drinkers and of the 368 women who continued to drink 338 (92%) had a low intake (0–5 units per week), 30 (8%) an excess intake (6-20+ units per week) and 93 (25%) reported at least one episode of binge drinking. Factors associated with continuing to drink in early pregnancy included older maternal age (30–39 years), (OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.3 to 1.8), Irish nationality (OR 3.1; 95% CI 2.2 to 4.3) and smoking (OR 2.6; 95% CI 1.9 to 3.5). Ex-drinkers had similar perinatal outcomes to non-drinkers. Compared to non-drinkers current drinking was associated with an increased risk of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) (13% versus 19%, crude OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.1 to 2.2, adjusted OR 1.2; 95% CI 0.8 to 1.8). The greatest risk of IUGR was among women who continued to both drink and smoke, (9% versus 32%, crude OR 4.8; 95% CI 3.3 to 7.0, adjusted OR 4.5; 95% CI 3.1 to 6.7). Conclusions Public Health campaigns need to emphasise the potential health gains of abstaining from both alcohol and smoking in pregnancy.
    • Comparison of self-reported health & healthcare utilisation between asylum seekers and refugees: an observational study.

      Toar, Magzoub; O'Brien, Kirsty K; Fahey, Tom; Department of General Practice, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Medical School, Dublin 2, Ireland. mtoar@hotmail.com (2009)
      BACKGROUND: Adult refugees and asylum seekers living in Western countries experience a high prevalence of mental health problems, especially post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety. This study compares and contrasts the prevalence of health problems, and potential risk factors as well as the utilisation of health services by asylum seekers and refugees in the Irish context. METHODS: Cross sectional study using validated self reported health status questionnaires of adult asylum seekers (n = 60) and refugees (n = 28) from 30 countries, living in Ireland. Outcome measures included: general health status (SF-36), presence of PTSD symptoms and anxiety/depression symptoms. Data on chronic conditions and pre or post migration stressors are also reported. The two groups are compared for utilisation of the health care system and the use of over the counter medications. RESULTS: Asylum seekers were significantly more likely than refugees to report symptoms of PTSD (OR 6.3, 95% CI: 2.2-17.9) and depression/anxiety (OR 5.8, 95% CI: 2.2-15.4), while no significant difference was found in self-reported general health. When adjusted by multivariable regression, the presence of more than one chronic disease (OR 4.0, 95%CI: 1.3-12.7; OR 3.4, 95% CI: 1.2-10.1), high levels of pre migration stressors (OR 3.6, 95% CI: 1.1-11.9; OR 3.3, 95% CI: 1.0-10.4) or post migration stressors (OR 17.3, 95% CI: 4.9-60.8; OR 3.9, 95% CI: 1.2-12.3) were independent predictors of self reported PTSD or depression/anxiety symptoms respectively, however, residence status was no longer significantly associated with PTSD or depression/anxiety. Residence status may act as a marker for other explanatory variables; our results show it has a strong relationship with post migration stressors (chi2 = 19.74, df = 1, P < 0.001).In terms of health care utilisation, asylum seekers use GP services more often than refugees, while no significant difference was found between these groups for use of dentists, medication, hospitalisation or mental health services. CONCLUSION: Asylum seekers have a higher level of self reported PTSD and depression/anxiety symptoms compared to refugees. However, residence status appears to act as a marker for post migration stressors. Compared to refugees, asylum seekers utilise GP services more often, but not mental health services.
    • Developing an electronic health record (EHR) for methadone treatment recording and decision support

      Xiao, Liang; Cousins, Grainne; Courtney, Brenda; Hederman, Lucy; Fahey, Tom; Dimitrov, Borislav D (2011-02-01)
      Abstract Background In this paper, we give an overview of methadone treatment in Ireland and outline the rationale for designing an electronic health record (EHR) with extensibility, interoperability and decision support functionality. Incorporating several international standards, a conceptual model applying a problem orientated approach in a hierarchical structure has been proposed for building the EHR. Methods A set of archetypes has been designed in line with the current best practice and clinical guidelines which guide the information-gathering process. A web-based data entry system has been implemented, incorporating elements of the paper-based prescription form, while at the same time facilitating the decision support function. Results The use of archetypes was found to capture the ever changing requirements in the healthcare domain and externalises them in constrained data structures. The solution is extensible enabling the EHR to cover medicine management in general as per the programme of the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research. Conclusions The data collected via this Irish system can be aggregated into a larger dataset, if necessary, for analysis and evidence-gathering, since we adopted the openEHR standard. It will be later extended to include the functionalities of prescribing drugs other than methadone along with the research agenda at the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research in Ireland.
    • Developing an electronic health record (EHR) for methadone treatment recording and decision support.

      Xiao, Liang; Cousins, Gráinne; Courtney, Brenda; Hederman, Lucy; Fahey, Tom; Dimitrov, Borislav D; HRB Centre for Primary Care Research, Department of General Practice, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Republic of Ireland. (2011-02)
      In this paper, we give an overview of methadone treatment in Ireland and outline the rationale for designing an electronic health record (EHR) with extensibility, interoperability and decision support functionality. Incorporating several international standards, a conceptual model applying a problem orientated approach in a hierarchical structure has been proposed for building the EHR.
    • Development and validation of a clinical prediction rule to identify suspected breast cancer: a prospective cohort study

      Galvin, Rose; Joyce, Doireann; Downey, Eithne; Boland, Fiona; Fahey, Tom; Hill, Arnold K; Beaumont Hospital, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (2014-10-03)
      Abstract Background The number of primary care referrals of women with breast symptoms to symptomatic breast units (SBUs) has increased exponentially in the past decade in Ireland. The aim of this study is to develop and validate a clinical prediction rule (CPR) to identify women with breast cancer so that a more evidence based approach to referral from primary care to these SBUs can be developed. Methods We analysed routine data from a prospective cohort of consecutive women reviewed at a SBU with breast symptoms. The dataset was split into a derivation and validation cohort. Regression analysis was used to derive a CPR from the patient’s history and clinical findings. Validation of the CPR consisted of estimating the number of breast cancers predicted to occur compared with the actual number of observed breast cancers across deciles of risk. Results A total of 6,590 patients were included in the derivation study and 4.9% were diagnosed with breast cancer. Independent clinical predictors for breast cancer were: increasing age by year (adjusted odds ratio 1.08, 95% CI 1.07-1.09); presence of a lump (5.63, 95% CI 4.2-7.56); nipple change (2.77, 95% CI 1.68-4.58) and nipple discharge (2.09, 95% CI 1.1-3.97). Validation of the rule (n = 911) demonstrated that the probability of breast cancer was higher with an increasing number of these independent variables. The Hosmer-Lemeshow goodness of fit showed no overall significant difference between the expected and the observed numbers of breast cancer (χ2 HL: 6.74, p-value: 0.56). Conclusions This study derived and validated a CPR for breast cancer in women attending an Irish national SBU. We found that increasing age, presence of a lump, nipple discharge and nipple change are all associated with increased risk of breast cancer. Further validation of the rule is necessary as well as an assessment of its impact on referral practice.
    • The development of the PROMPT (PRescribing Optimally in Middle-aged People's Treatments) criteria

      Cooper, Janine A; Ryan, Cristín; Smith, Susan M; Wallace, Emma; Bennett, Kathleen; Cahir, Caitriona; Williams, David; Teeling, Mary; Fahey, Tom; Hughes, Carmel M; et al. (2014-10-30)
      Abstract Background Whilst multimorbidity is more prevalent with increasing age, approximately 30% of middle-aged adults (45–64 years) are also affected. Several prescribing criteria have been developed to optimise medication use in older people (≥65 years) with little focus on potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) in middle-aged adults. We have developed a set of explicit prescribing criteria called PROMPT (PRescribing Optimally in Middle-aged People’s Treatments) which may be applied to prescribing datasets to determine the prevalence of PIP in this age-group. Methods A literature search was conducted to identify published prescribing criteria for all age groups, with the Project Steering Group (convened for this study) adding further criteria for consideration, all of which were reviewed for relevance to middle-aged adults. These criteria underwent a two-round Delphi process, using an expert panel consisting of general practitioners, pharmacists and clinical pharmacologists from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Using web-based questionnaires, 17 panellists were asked to indicate their level of agreement with each criterion via a 5-point Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Agree) to assess the applicability to middle-aged adults in the absence of clinical information. Criteria were accepted/rejected/revised dependent on the panel’s level of agreement using the median response/interquartile range and additional comments. Results Thirty-four criteria were rated in the first round of this exercise and consensus was achieved on 17 criteria which were accepted into the PROMPT criteria. Consensus was not reached on the remaining 17, and six criteria were removed following a review of the additional comments. The second round of this exercise focused on the remaining 11 criteria, some of which were revised following the first exercise. Five criteria were accepted from the second round, providing a final list of 22 criteria [gastro-intestinal system (n = 3), cardiovascular system (n = 4), respiratory system (n = 4), central nervous system (n = 6), infections (n = 1), endocrine system (n = 1), musculoskeletal system (n = 2), duplicates (n = 1)]. Conclusions PROMPT is the first set of prescribing criteria developed for use in middle-aged adults. The utility of these criteria will be tested in future studies using prescribing datasets.
    • Diagnostic accuracy of the STRATIFY clinical prediction rule for falls: A systematic review and meta-analysis

      Billington, Jennifer; Fahey, Tom; Galvin, Rose (2012-08-07)
      AbstractBackgroundThe STRATIFY score is a clinical prediction rule (CPR) derived to assist clinicians to identify patients at risk of falling. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to determine the overall diagnostic accuracy of the STRATIFY rule across a variety of clinical settings.MethodsA literature search was performed to identify all studies that validated the STRATIFY rule. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies tool. A STRATIFY score of ≥2 points was used to identify individuals at higher risk of falling. All included studies were combined using a bivariate random effects model to generate pooled sensitivity and specificity of STRATIFY at ≥2 points. Heterogeneity was assessed using the variance of logit transformed sensitivity and specificity.ResultsSeventeen studies were included in our meta-analysis, incorporating 11,378 patients. At a score ≥2 points, the STRATIFY rule is more useful at ruling out falls in those classified as low risk, with a greater pooled sensitivity estimate (0.67, 95% CI 0.52–0.80) than specificity (0.57, 95% CI 0.45 – 0.69). The sensitivity analysis which examined the performance of the rule in different settings and subgroups also showed broadly comparable results, indicating that the STRATIFY rule performs in a similar manner across a variety of different ‘at risk’ patient groups in different clinical settings.ConclusionThis systematic review shows that the diagnostic accuracy of the STRATIFY rule is limited and should not be used in isolation for identifying individuals at high risk of falls in clinical practice.
    • Effectiveness of medicines review with web-based pharmaceutical treatment algorithms in reducing potentially inappropriate prescribing in older people in primary care: a cluster randomized trial (OPTI-SCRIPT study protocol)

      Clyne, Barbara; Bradley, Marie C; Smith, Susan M; Hughes, Carmel M; Motterlini, Nicola; Clear, Daniel; McDonnell, Ronan; Williams, David; Fahey, Tom; on behalf of the OPTI-SCRIPT study team (2013-03-13)
      Abstract Background Potentially inappropriate prescribing in older people is common in primary care and can result in increased morbidity, adverse drug events, hospitalizations and mortality. In Ireland, 36% of those aged 70 years or over received at least one potentially inappropriate medication, with an associated expenditure of over €45 million.The main objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness and acceptability of a complex, multifaceted intervention in reducing the level of potentially inappropriate prescribing in primary care. Methods/design This study is a pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial, conducted in primary care (OPTI-SCRIPT trial), involving 22 practices (clusters) and 220 patients. Practices will be allocated to intervention or control arms using minimization, with intervention participants receiving a complex multifaceted intervention incorporating academic detailing, medicines review with web-based pharmaceutical treatment algorithms that provide recommended alternative treatment options, and tailored patient information leaflets. Control practices will deliver usual care and receive simple patient-level feedback on potentially inappropriate prescribing. Routinely collected national prescribing data will also be analyzed for nonparticipating practices, acting as a contemporary national control. The primary outcomes are the proportion of participant patients with potentially inappropriate prescribing and the mean number of potentially inappropriate prescriptions per patient. In addition, economic and qualitative evaluations will be conducted. Discussion This study will establish the effectiveness of a multifaceted intervention in reducing potentially inappropriate prescribing in older people in Irish primary care that is generalizable to countries with similar prescribing challenges. Trial registration Current controlled trials ISRCTN41694007
    • Framework for the impact analysis and implementation of Clinical Prediction Rules (CPRs)

      Wallace, Emma; Smith, Susan M; Perera-Salazar, Rafael; Vaucher, Paul; McCowan, Colin; Collins, Gary; Verbakel, Jan; Lakhanpaul, Monica; Fahey, Tom; (IDAPP) group, International Diagnostic and Prognosis Prediction group (2011-10-14)
      Abstract Clinical Prediction Rules (CPRs) are tools that quantify the contribution of symptoms, clinical signs and available diagnostic tests, and in doing so stratify patients according to the probability of having a target outcome or need for a specified treatment. Most focus on the derivation stage with only a minority progressing to validation and very few undergoing impact analysis. Impact analysis studies remain the most efficient way of assessing whether incorporating CPRs into a decision making process improves patient care. However there is a lack of clear methodology for the design of high quality impact analysis studies. We have developed a sequential four-phased framework based on the literature and the collective experience of our international working group to help researchers identify and overcome the specific challenges in designing and conducting an impact analysis of a CPR. There is a need to shift emphasis from deriving new CPRs to validating and implementing existing CPRs. The proposed framework provides a structured approach to this topical and complex area of research.
    • Health and use of health services of people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness who receive free primary health care in Dublin

      Keogh, Claire; O’Brien, Kirsty K; Hoban, Anthony; O’Carroll, Austin; Fahey, Tom (2015-02-12)
    • Is the Timed Up and Go test a useful predictor of risk of falls in community dwelling older adults: a systematic review and meta- analysis

      Barry, Emma; Galvin, Rose; Keogh, Claire; Horgan, Frances; Fahey, Tom (2014-02-01)
      Abstract Background The Timed Up and Go test (TUG) is a commonly used screening tool to assist clinicians to identify patients at risk of falling. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to determine the overall predictive value of the TUG in community-dwelling older adults. Methods A literature search was performed to identify all studies that validated the TUG test. The methodological quality of the selected studies was assessed using the QUADAS-2 tool, a validated tool for the quality assessment of diagnostic accuracy studies. A TUG score of ≥13.5 seconds was used to identify individuals at higher risk of falling. All included studies were combined using a bivariate random effects model to generate pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity at ≥13.5 seconds. Heterogeneity was assessed using the variance of logit transformed sensitivity and specificity. Results Twenty-five studies were included in the systematic review and 10 studies were included in meta-analysis. The TUG test was found to be more useful at ruling in rather than ruling out falls in individuals classified as high risk (>13.5 sec), with a higher pooled specificity (0.74, 95% CI 0.52-0.88) than sensitivity (0.31, 95% CI 0.13-0.57). Logistic regression analysis indicated that the TUG score is not a significant predictor of falls (OR = 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.02, p = 0.05). Conclusion The Timed Up and Go test has limited ability to predict falls in community dwelling elderly and should not be used in isolation to identify individuals at high risk of falls in this setting.
    • Long-term risk of stroke after transient ischaemic attack: a hospital-based validation of the ABCD2 rule

      Galvin, Rose; Atanassova, Penka A; Motterlini, Nicola; Fahey, Tom; Dimitrov, Borislav D (2014-05-04)
      Abstract Background The ABCD2 clinical prediction rule is a seven point summation of clinical factors independently predictive of stroke risk. The purpose of this cohort study is to validate the ABCD2 rule in a Bulgarian hospital up to three years after TIA. Methods All consecutive admissions to an emergency department with symptoms of a first TIA were included. Baseline data and clinical examinations including the ABCD2 scores were documented by neurologists. Discrimination and calibration performance was examined using ABCD2 cut-off scores of ≥3, ≥4 and ≥5 points, consistent with the international guidelines. The Hosmer-Lemeshow test was used to examine calibration between the observed and expected outcomes as predicted by ABCD2 score within the logistic regression analysis. Results Eighty-nine patients were enrolled to the study with a mean age of 63 years (+/- 12 years). Fifty-nine percent (n = 53) of the study population was male. Seven strokes (7 · 8%) occurred within the first year and six further strokes within the three-year follow-up period. There was no incident of stroke within the first 90 days after TIA. The rule demonstrated good predictive (OR = 1 · 58, 95% CI 1 · 09-2 · 29) and discriminative performance (AUCROC = 0 · 72, 95% CI 0 · 58-0 · 86), as well as a moderate calibration performance at three years. Conclusion This validation of the ABCD2 rule in a Bulgarian hospital demonstrates that the rule has good predictive and discriminative performance at three years. The ABCD2 is quick to administer and may serve as a useful tool to assist clinicians in the long-term management of individuals with TIA.
    • Potential for alcohol and drug interactions in older adults: evidence from the Irish longitudinal study on ageing

      Cousins, Gráinne; Galvin, Rose; Flood, Michelle; Kennedy, Mary-Claire; Motterlini, Nicola; Henman, Martin C; Kenny, Rose-Anne; Fahey, Tom (2014-04-27)
      Abstract Background Older adults are susceptible to adverse effects from the concomitant use of prescription medications and alcohol. This study estimates the prevalence of exposure to alcohol interactive (AI) medications and concomitant alcohol use by therapeutic class in a large, nationally representative sample of older adults. Methods Cross-sectional analysis of a population based sample of older Irish adults aged ≥60 years using data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) (N = 3,815). AI medications were identified using Stockley’s Drug Interactions, the British National Formulary and the Irish Medicines Formulary. An in-home inventory of medications was used to characterise AI drug exposure by therapeutic class. Self-reported alcohol use was classified as non-drinker, light/moderate and heavy drinking. Comorbidities known to be exacerbated by alcohol were also recorded (diabetes mellitus, hypertension, peptic ulcer disease, liver disease, depression, gout or breast cancer), as well as sociodemographic and health factors. Results Seventy-two per cent of participants were exposed to AI medications, with greatest exposure to cardiovascular and CNS agents. Overall, 60% of participants exposed to AI medications reported concomitant alcohol use, compared with 69.5% of non-AI exposed people (p < 0.001). Almost 28% of those reporting anti-histamine use were identified as heavy drinkers. Similarly almost one in five, combined heavy drinking with anti-coagulants/anti-platelets and cardiovascular agents, with 16% combining heavy drinking with CNS agents. Multinomial logistic regression showed that being male, younger, urban dwelling, with higher levels of education and a history of smoking, were associated with an increased risk for concomitant exposure to alcohol consumption (both light/moderate and heavier) and AI medications. Current smokers and people with increasing co-morbidities were also at greatest risk for heavy drinking in combination with AI medications. Conclusions The concurrent use of alcohol with AI medications, or with conditions known to be exacerbated by alcohol, is common among older Irish adults. Prescribers should be aware of potential interactions, and screen patients for alcohol use and provide warnings to minimize patient risk.
    • Potential for alcohol and drug interactions in older adults: evidence from the Irish longitudinal study on ageing.

      Cousins, Gráinne; Galvin, Rose; Flood, Michelle; Kennedy, Mary-Claire; Motterlini, Nicola; Henman, Martin C; Kenny, Rose-Anne; Fahey, Tom; School of Pharmacy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin 2, Ireland. gcousins@rcsi.ie. (BMC geriatrics, 2014-08)
      Older adults are susceptible to adverse effects from the concomitant use of prescription medications and alcohol. This study estimates the prevalence of exposure to alcohol interactive (AI) medications and concomitant alcohol use by therapeutic class in a large, nationally representative sample of older adults.
    • Potentially inappropriate prescribing among older people in the United Kingdom

      Bradley, Marie C; Motterlini, Nicola; Padmanabhan, Shivani; Cahir, Caitriona; Williams, Tim; Fahey, Tom; Hughes, Carmel M (2014-06-12)
      Abstract Background Potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) in older people is associated with increases in morbidity, hospitalisation and mortality. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of and factors associated with PIP, among those aged ≥70 years, in the United Kingdom, using a comprehensive set of prescribing indicators and comparing these to estimates obtained from a truncated set of the same indicators. Methods A retrospective cross-sectional study was carried out in the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), in 2007. Participants included those aged ≥ 70 years, in CPRD. Fifty-two PIP indicators from the Screening Tool of Older Persons Potentially Inappropriate Prescriptions (STOPP) criteria were applied to data on prescribed drugs and clinical diagnoses. Overall prevalence of PIP and prevalence according to individual STOPP criteria were estimated. The relationship between PIP and polypharmacy (≥4 medications), comorbidity, age, and gender was examined. A truncated, subset of 28 STOPP criteria that were used in two previous studies, were further applied to the data to facilitate comparison. Results Using 52 indicators, the overall prevalence of PIP in the study population (n = 1,019,491) was 29%. The most common examples of PIP were therapeutic duplication (11.9%), followed by use of aspirin with no indication (11.3%) and inappropriate use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (3.7%). PIP was strongly associated with polypharmacy (Odds Ratio 18.2, 95% Confidence Intervals, 18.0-18.4, P < 0.05). PIP was more common in those aged 70–74 years vs. 85 years or more and in males. Application of the smaller subset of the STOPP criteria resulted in a lower PIP prevalence at 14.9% (95% CIs 14.8-14.9%) (n = 151,598). The most common PIP issues identified with this subset were use of PPIs at maximum dose for > 8 weeks, NSAIDs for > 3 months, and use of long-term neuroleptics. Conclusions PIP was prevalent in the UK and increased with polypharmacy. Application of the comprehensive set of STOPP criteria allowed more accurate estimation of PIP compared to the subset of criteria used in previous studies. These findings may provide a focus for targeted interventions to reduce PIP.
    • Potentially inappropriate prescribing and cost outcomes for older people: a national population study.

      Cahir, Caitriona; Fahey, Tom; Teeling, Mary; Teljeur, Conor; Feely, John; Bennett, Kathleen; HRB Centre for Primary Care Research, RCSI Medical School, Division of Population Health Science, 123 St Stephens Green, Dublin 2, Ireland. caitrionacahir@rcsi.ie (2010-05)
      Optimization of drug prescribing in older populations is a priority due to the significant clinical and economic costs of drug-related illness. This study aimed to: (i) estimate the prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) in a national Irish older population using European specific explicit prescribing criteria; (ii) investigate the association between PIP, number of drug classes, gender and age and; (iii) establish the total cost of PIP.
    • Predicting acute uncomplicated urinary tract infection in women: a systematic review of the diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and signs

      Giesen, Leonie GM; Cousins, Grainne; Dimitrov, Borislav D; van de Laar, Floris A; Fahey, Tom (2010-10-24)
      Abstract Background Acute urinary tract infections (UTI) are one of the most common bacterial infections among women presenting to primary care. However, there is a lack of consensus regarding the optimal reference standard threshold for diagnosing UTI. The objective of this systematic review is to determine the diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and signs in women presenting with suspected UTI, across three different reference standards (102 or 103 or 105 CFU/ml). We also examine the diagnostic value of individual symptoms and signs combined with dipstick test results in terms of clinical decision making. Methods Searches were performed through PubMed (1966 to April 2010), EMBASE (1973 to April 2010), Cochrane library (1973 to April 2010), Google scholar and reference checking. Studies that assessed the diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and signs of an uncomplicated UTI using a urine culture from a clean-catch or catherised urine specimen as the reference standard, with a reference standard of at least ≥ 102 CFU/ml were included. Synthesised data from a high quality systematic review were used regarding dipstick results. Studies were combined using a bivariate random effects model. Results Sixteen studies incorporating 3,711 patients are included. The weighted prior probability of UTI varies across diagnostic threshold, 65.1% at ≥ 102 CFU/ml; 55.4% at ≥ 103 CFU/ml and 44.8% at ≥ 102 CFU/ml ≥ 105 CFU/ml. Six symptoms are identified as useful diagnostic symptoms when a threshold of ≥ 102 CFU/ml is the reference standard. Presence of dysuria (+LR 1.30 95% CI 1.20-1.41), frequency (+LR 1.10 95% CI 1.04-1.16), hematuria (+LR 1.72 95%CI 1.30-2.27), nocturia (+LR 1.30 95% CI 1.08-1.56) and urgency (+LR 1.22 95% CI 1.11-1.34) all increase the probability of UTI. The presence of vaginal discharge (+LR 0.65 95% CI 0.51-0.83) decreases the probability of UTI. Presence of hematuria has the highest diagnostic utility, raising the post-test probability of UTI to 75.8% at ≥ 102 CFU/ml and 67.4% at ≥ 103 CFU/ml. Probability of UTI increases to 93.3% and 90.1% at ≥ 102 CFU/ml and ≥ 103 CFU/ml respectively when presence of hematuria is combined with a positive dipstick result for nitrites. Subgroup analysis shows improved diagnostic accuracy using lower reference standards ≥ 102 CFU/ml and ≥ 103 CFU/ml. Conclusions Individual symptoms and signs have a modest ability to raise the pretest-risk of UTI. Diagnostic accuracy improves considerably when combined with dipstick tests particularly tests for nitrites.
    • Predicting Streptococcal Pharyngitis in Adults in Primary Care: A Systematic Review of the Diagnostic Accuracy of Symptoms and Signs and Validation of the Centor Score

      Aalbers, Jolien; O'Brien, Kirsty K; Chan, Wai-Sun; Falk, Gavin A; Teljeur, Conor; Dimitrov, Borislav D; Fahey, Tom (2011-06-01)
      Abstract Background Stratifying patients with a sore throat into the probability of having an underlying bacterial or viral cause may be helpful in targeting antibiotic treatment. We sought to assess the diagnostic accuracy of signs and symptoms and validate a clinical prediction rule (CPR), the Centor score, for predicting group A β-haemolytic streptococcal (GABHS) pharyngitis in adults (> 14 years of age) presenting with sore throat symptoms. Methods A systematic literature search was performed up to July 2010. Studies that assessed the diagnostic accuracy of signs and symptoms and/or validated the Centor score were included. For the analysis of the diagnostic accuracy of signs and symptoms and the Centor score, studies were combined using a bivariate random effects model, while for the calibration analysis of the Centor score, a random effects model was used. Results A total of 21 studies incorporating 4,839 patients were included in the meta-analysis on diagnostic accuracy of signs and symptoms. The results were heterogeneous and suggest that individual signs and symptoms generate only small shifts in post-test probability (range positive likelihood ratio (+LR) 1.45-2.33, -LR 0.54-0.72). As a decision rule for considering antibiotic prescribing (score ≥ 3), the Centor score has reasonable specificity (0.82, 95% CI 0.72 to 0.88) and a post-test probability of 12% to 40% based on a prior prevalence of 5% to 20%. Pooled calibration shows no significant difference between the numbers of patients predicted and observed to have GABHS pharyngitis across strata of Centor score (0-1 risk ratio (RR) 0.72, 95% CI 0.49 to 1.06; 2-3 RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.17; 4 RR 1.14, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.37). Conclusions Individual signs and symptoms are not powerful enough to discriminate GABHS pharyngitis from other types of sore throat. The Centor score is a well calibrated CPR for estimating the probability of GABHS pharyngitis. The Centor score can enhance appropriate prescribing of antibiotics, but should be used with caution in low prevalence settings of GABHS pharyngitis such as primary care.
    • Prescriber variation in potentially inappropriate prescribing in older populations in Ireland

      Cahir, Caitriona; Fahey, Tom; Teljeur, Conor; Bennett, Kathleen (2014-04-02)
      Abstract Background Health care policy-makers look for prescribing indicators at the population level to evaluate the performance of prescribers, improve quality and control drug costs. The aim of this research was to; (i) estimate the level of variation in potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) across prescribers in the national Irish older population using the STOPP criteria; (ii) estimate how reliably the criteria could distinguish between prescribers in terms of their proportion of PIP and; (iii) examine how PIP varies between prescribers and by patient and prescriber characteristics in a multilevel regression model. Methods 1,938 general practitioners (GPs) with 338,375 registered patients’ ≥70 years were extracted from the Health Service Executive Primary Care Reimbursement Service (HSE-PCRS) pharmacy claims database. HSE-PCRS prescriptions are WHO ATC coded. Demographic data for claimants’ and prescribers’ are available. Thirty STOPP indicators were applied to prescription claims in 2007. Multilevel logistic regression examined how PIP varied between prescribers and by individual patient and prescriber level variables. Results The unadjusted variation in PIP between prescribers was considerable (median 35%, IQR 30-40%). The STOPP criteria were reliable measures of PIP (average >0.8 reliability). The multilevel regression models found that only the patient level variable, number of different repeat drug classes was strongly associated with PIP (>2 drugs v none; adjusted OR, 4.0; 95% CI 3.7, 4.3). After adjustment for patient level variables the proportion of PIP varied fourfold (0.5 to 2 times the expected proportion) between prescribers but the majority of this variation was not significant. Conclusion PIP is of concern for all prescribers. Interventions aimed at enhancing appropriateness of prescribing should target patients taking multiple medications.