Survey Reveals Barriers to Deprescribing for Elderly Patients

Lack of time and difficulty engaging patients, caregivers reported as barriers to deprescribing
Lack of time and difficulty engaging patients, caregivers reported as barriers to deprescribing

(HealthDay News) — Physicians are generally comfortable with deprescribing for elderly patients, although there are several barriers to deprescribing, according to a study published online April 22 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

Laurence Djatche, Pharm.D., from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues administered a survey to 160 physicians attending an educational session related to deprescribing. Participants were asked to assess their level of agreement on nine questions relating to their perception of deprescribing and potential factors affecting the process of deprescribing.

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The researchers found that 72 percent of physicians reported general confidence in their ability to deprescribe. Seventy-eight and 53 percent reported being comfortable deprescribing preventive and guideline-recommended therapy, respectively. More than one-third of physicians reported lack of evidence on discontinuing preventive medicines and concern about withdrawal side effects as impeding deprescribing. Forty percent of physicians reported hesitance in deprescribing medications when they were initially prescribed by another physician. Forty-five percent did not feel comfortable deprescribing when patients/caregivers believed that the medication was still needed. About one in four physicians reported lack of time and difficulty engaging patients/caregivers as barriers in the deprescribing process. No strong correlation was identified between physicians' confidence and attitudes or barriers associated with deprescribing.

"An improved understanding of physicians' views on deprescribing may help guide further research, and policies to help patients remain healthy while streamlining their medication regimen," the authors write.

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