Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Is DePrescribing The Answer for Too Many Prescriptions?

The New York Times recently ran an article examining polypharmacy problems in  elders, Looking to Tackle Prescription Overload. "[P]olypharmacy refers to an increasing overload of drugs that may not benefit the patient or interact well with one another, and that may cause harm including falls, cognitive impairment, hospitalization and death. It has sparked interest in “deprescribing”: the practice in which doctors and patients regularly review medication regimens to prune away risky or unnecessary drugs."

One solution, the focus of this article, is deprescribing. For example, "the Drive to Deprescribe campaign, [was] launched last month by the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, known as AMDA, which represents medical directors and administrators of long-term care facilities, where polypharmacy is particularly prevalent."

The effort is underway, seeking "a 25 percent reduction in medication use within a year...." and so far, "2,000 facilities have enrolled, along with three major consulting pharmacies that serve them...."  That may be seen as a drop in the bucket to some, but it is a start.  As well, two years ago " the U.S. Deprescribing Research Network, [was] established ... and funded by the National Institute on Aging. So far, it has awarded nine grants to test effective deprescribing strategies."
The article discusses the challenges to successes, including the U.S. health system, where specialists may work in silos vis a vis a specific patient,  more time may be needed with a patient, and just plain old inertia. Deprescribing isn't just a simple "stop taking this drug."  The article points out that patients may always ask their doctors to reexamine the need for a certain prescription.


Fascinating article!



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