The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

SmartPrescribe: Principles of Rational Prescribing


SmartPrescribe: Principles of Rational Prescribing

Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Hal Atkinson, MD, Kaycee Sink, MD
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This is a web-based lesson on the principles of rational prescribing. It includes three cases and addresses polypharmacy, adverse drug events, and off-label prescribing. The principles apply to all patient populations, but this lesson focuses on older adults because they constitute a large and growing population at high risk of polypharmacy and unwanted side effects of medications. The lesson utilizes PowerPoint slides, audio, and interactive features including focus questions within the cases and a specially created drug interaction game. Printable resources available for download include the American Geriatrics Society's Beers Criteria Pocket Card and a sample medication grid for patient use. The lesson is free and requires about 15 minutes to complete.

Educational objectives: 
  1. Define polypharmacy and the scope of problems related to drug prescribing in the elderly.
  2. List strategies to avoid drug interactions and adverse drug events in older persons.
  3. List classes of drugs and specific drugs to avoid in older adults.
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Other Learning Resource Type: 
Estimated time to complete: 
15 minutes
Conflict of Interest Disclosure: 
No, I (we) have nothing to disclose.
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Suggested Citation:
Kaycee Sink and Hal Atkinson. SmartPrescribe: Principles of Rational Prescribing. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2009 Available from:


Submitted by Tonya Fisher on

I would like to view program and take quiz, but it is difficult to access


Submitted by terreri on

Very helpful review and summary of concepts related to prescribing practices when clients have multiple medical conditions and are prescribed multiple medications.