Older Adults Willing to Reduce Number of Medications, Study Finds

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From Lown Institute: “Taking many medications at once can put patients, especially older adults, at risk of a negative reaction to one or more drugs. More than 450,000 older Americans went to the Emergency Room in 2015 because of an adverse drug event.

Given the risks of taking too many medications, initiatives around the world have been started to encourage doctors to ‘deprescribe,’ to take patients off medications that are unnecessary or harmful. However, taking patients off medications is easier said than done – there are not many guidelines for tapering medications, doctors may be reluctant to deprescribe a medication another doctor prescribed, and deprescribing is a significant time commitment that doctors often don’t have in their busy schedules.

Primary care doctors report that one of the biggest barriers to deprescribing is that patients don’t want to stop taking medications. Patients may perceive that the medication is making them healthier, even if it’s not; they may think the doctor is ‘giving up on them’ by deprescribing; they may not realize that they can go back on the medication if necessary; or they may be under pressure from their family to keep taking the medication.

However, a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that patients are not as resistant to deprescribing as doctors might think.”

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