February 8, 1995

Inappropriate Drug Prescribing

Author Affiliations

University of California San Francisco

JAMA. 1995;273(6):456-457. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520300025020

To the Editor.  —Dr Willcox and colleagues1 defined potentially inappropriate drugs for the community-dwelling elderly and then measured their frequency of use in such a population. We feel the authors made unsubstantiated claims in their title, methods, and conclusion. We found the title misleading and sensational. Whereas the body of the article repeatedly referred to "potentially" inappropriate prescribing practices, the word "potentially" was not used in the title. This omission could influence physicians to deprive patients of contraindicated drugs that are potentially inappropriate for some patients, but appropriate for other patients.In the "Methods" section, the authors selected their contraindicated drugs based on the criteria of a prior article that evaluated inappropriate medication use in nursing home residents.2 Willcox et al, however, studied community-dwelling elderly, not nursing home residents. Compared with the community-dwelling elderly, nursing home residents are generally more frail and have almost twice the prescription rate

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