Drugs & Aging

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 43–60 | Cite as

Tools for Assessment of the Appropriateness of Prescribing and Association with Patient-Related Outcomes: A Systematic Review

  • Nashwa MasnoonEmail author
  • Sepehr Shakib
  • Lisa Kalisch-Ellett
  • Gillian E. Caughey
Systematic Review



There are tools and criteria in the literature aimed at distinguishing between appropriate and inappropriate medicines use. However, many have not been externally validated with regard to patient-related outcomes, potentially limiting their use in clinical practice.


The aim of the study was to conduct a systematic review to summarise (1) available prescribing appropriateness assessment tools and criteria, and (2) their associations with patient-related outcomes (external validity).


A systematic review was conducted using MEDLINE, EMBASE and Informit (Health Collection) databases to screen for articles in English that examined (1) tools to assess the appropriateness of prescribing and (2) associations of tools with patient-related outcomes, published between 2000 and 2016, without any limits placed on the study design, participant age or setting.


After screening 1710 articles, removing duplicates and shortlisting relevant articles, 42 prescribing assessment tools were identified. Out of the 42 tools, 78.6% (n = 33) provided guidance around stopping inappropriate medications, 28.6% (n = 12) around starting appropriate medications, 61.9% (n = 26) were explicit (criteria based) and 31.0% (n = 13) had been externally validated, with hospitalisation being the most commonly used patient-related outcome (n = 9, 21.4%).


The results of this systematic review highlight the need for evidence-based and externally validated tools, which combine the different aspects of medication management to optimise patient-related outcomes. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42017067233.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


Nashwa Masnoon is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP). No other sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article.

Conflicts of interest

Nashwa Masnoon, Sepehr Shakib, Lisa Kalisch-Ellett and Gillian Caughey declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.

Supplementary material

40266_2018_516_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (28 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre, School of Pharmacy and Medical SciencesUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PharmacyRoyal Adelaide HospitalAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Clinical PharmacologyRoyal Adelaide HospitalAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Discipline of Pharmacology, School of MedicineUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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