Prescription peer academic detailing to reduce inappropriate prescribing for older patients: a cluster randomised controlled trial

Older patients are at particular risk for adverse drug reactions. In older people, interventions targeting potentially inappropriate prescriptions (PIPs) are considered important measures to minimise drug-related harm, especially in the general practice setting where most prescriptions for older patients are issued.


To study the effects of a multifaceted educational intervention on GPs' PIPs for older patients.


This was a cluster randomised, educational intervention study in Norwegian general practice. Pre-study data were captured from January 2005 to December 2005 and post-study data from June 2006 to June 2007. The educational intervention was carried out from January 2006 to June 2006.


Eighty continuing medical education (CME) groups (465 GPs) were randomised to receive the educational intervention on GPs' PIPs for older patients (41 CME groups; 256 GPs) or another educational intervention (39 CME groups; 209 GPs); these two groups acted as controls for each other. GPs' prescription data from before and after the intervention were assessed against a list of 13 explicit PIP criteria for patients aged ≥70 years. In the CME groups, trained GPs carried out an educational programme, including an audit, focusing on the 13 criteria and their rationale.


A total of 449 GPs (96.6%) completed the study; 250 in the intervention group and 199 in the control group. After adjusting for baseline differences and clustering effects, a reduction relative to baseline of 10.3% (95% confidence interval = 5.9 to 15.0) PIPs per 100 patients aged ≥70 years was obtained.


Educational outreach visits with feedback and audit, using GPs as academic detailers in GPs' CME groups, reduced PIPs for older patients aged ≥70 years in general practice.


HuisartsengeneeskundeEducational gatheringsFeedbackBehandeling medicatie



Rognstad S
Brekke M
Fetveit A
Dalen I
Straand J