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Pharmacy News

Dr Marie Sartain
/ Categories: APhA News

Need for more patient-provider dialogue as deprescribing medicine for older adults catches on

Findings from a University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging suggest that older adults are supportive of the idea of deprescribing medications.

The survey found that 82% of adults ages 50 to 80 years old would be willing to stop taking one or more of the prescription medicines they have been using for more than a year if a health care provider said it was feasible.

The survey also revealed that 26% of respondents have already done so in the past 2 years.

“Deprescribing, which can include prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements, should be based on dialogue between patients and providers, and sometimes family members,” said Sarah Vordenberg, PharmD, MPH, a University of Michigan College of Pharmacy clinical associate professor who worked on the poll, in a University of Michigan statement.

More than a third of the older adults who said they stopped taking a prescription medication that they had been using one for more than a year said they did so without consulting a health professional. The poll also found that 82% of people 50 to 80 years old take at least one prescription medicine regularly, of whom 28% said they believe they take too many medications.

More than one-half of respondents said they take three or more prescription medications; 11% said they take three or more OTC medicines regularly; and 38% take three or more vitamins, minerals, or supplements.

The survey also indicated that more people should use a comprehensive medication review by a pharmacist or other provider—a benefit offered by Medicare and other insurance.

“While we found that over 90% of older adults who take at least one prescription medicine expect their provider to review their list of medicines at least annually, research has shown this is often not the case,” Vordenberg said.

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