Deprescribing: Barriers, Benefits, and Harms

Dalia A. Abdulla , Hind A. Rikabi , Mahmoud M. E. Mudawi


Polypharmacy, which is the practice of prescribing five or more medicines to the same patient is associated with many problems like adverse drug reactions and poor adherence to therapy and can be harmful. Recently, the term deprescribing is used to describe the systematic process of identifying and discontinuing medicines in situations in which potential or existing harms outweigh potential or existing benefits for the seek of individual patient care goals and preferences. Many studies assessed the attitude of patients or perceptions of health care practitioners towards deprescribing, others evaluated barriers or factors affecting deprescribing. Since the practice of deprescribing is growing, this study aimed to review the harms, benefits, and barriers of deprescribing. Some studies reported that patients may be interested in withdrawing one or more of their medicines if advised by their treating doctors and at the same time costs and experiencing medication adverse effects may result in a willingness to decrease the number of medications taken. Harms that may occur due to deprescribing can be minimized or even prevented by using a structured and patient-specific deprescribing process with proper planning and careful monitoring during and after medication withdrawal.

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