New chapter: Polypharmacy and Deprescribing


Polypharmacy, the use of multiple medications, is increasingly becoming the norm for older adults. Deprescribing is the planned and supervised process of tapering or stopping a drug that might no longer be of benefit or even be causing harm. This chapter introduces a general approach to polypharmacy and outlines strategies that may help with deprescribing and medication optimization.

“Although there are varying definitions of what constitutes polypharmacy, it is estimated that >60% of older individuals (those aged ≥65 years) use ≥5 prescription medications and ≥20% use >10 medications. Polypharmacy is a complex issue that requires careful evaluation and deprescribing (when appropriate) to prevent harm. By addressing polypharmacy, evaluating medication appropriateness, and implementing deprescribing strategies, health-care professionals can enhance patient care, improve health outcomes, and reduce health-care costs.”

To learn more about this complex issue, go to Polypharmacy and Deprescribing by Drs Kate Lim, Alexandra Papaioannou, Sharon Marr, and Justin Lee.

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