To STOPP or to START? Potentially inappropriate prescribing in older patients with falls and syncope

Susanne C. de Ruiter, Sophie S. Biesheuvel, Ingrid M.M. van Haelst, Rob J. van Marum, René W.M.M. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) according to the revised STOPP/START criteria in older patients with falls and syncope. Study design: We included consecutive patients with falls and syncope aged ≥65 years at the day clinic of the Northwest Clinics, the Netherlands, from 2011 to 2016. All medication use before and after the visit was retrospectively investigated using the revised STOPP/START criteria. Main outcome measures: The prevalence/occurrence of PIP before the visit, persistent PIP after the visit, and unaddressed persistent PIP not explained in the patient's chart. Results: PIP was present in 98 % of 374 patients (mean age 80 (SD ± 7) years; 69 % females). 1564 PIP occurrences were identified. 1015 occurrences persisted (in 91 % of patients). 690 occurrences (in 80 % of patients) were not explained in the patient's chart. The most frequent unaddressed persistent forms of PIP were prescriptions of vasodilator drugs for patients with orthostatic hypotension (16 %), and benzodiazepines for >4 weeks (10 %) or in fall patients (8 %), and omission of vitamin D (28 %), antihypertensive drugs (24 %), and antidepressants (17 %). 54 % of all medication changes were initiated for reasons beyond the scope of the STOPP/START criteria. Conclusions: Almost every patient in our study population suffered from PIP. In 80 %, PIP continued after the clinical visit, without an explanation in the patient's chart. The most frequent PIP concerned medication that increased the risk of falls or syncope, specifically vasodilator drugs and benzodiazepines. Physicians should be aware of PIP in older patients with falls and syncope. Further studies should investigate whether a structured medication review may improve clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Falls
  • Older patients
  • Potentially inappropriate prescribing
  • Syncope

Cite this