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Deprescribing to Improve Quality of Life

May 21, 2015
By

One of the more dangerous challenges for older people living in the United States is the potential risks brought on by “polypharmacy” or the drug reactions related to taking multiple drugs. According to one study “inappropriate polypharmacy in older patients imposes a significant burden of decreased physical functioning, increased risk of falls, delirium and other geriatric syndromes, hospital admissions and death. The single most important predictor of inappropriate prescribing and risk of adverse drug events in older patients is the number of prescribed medications. Deprescribing is the process of tapering or stopping drugs, with the goal of minimising polypharmacy and improving outcomes.”

As the authors point out, there are a many challenges to reducing the number of drugs regularly taken by seniors. These include ignorance of the risks of polypharmacy, incentives to prescribe medications and a concern over potential unfavorable events from deprescribing.

Consider carefully the number of drugs you or older family members are taking. The combined impact may be creating unnecessary risk and reducing the desired quality of life.

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