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What is deprescribing?

Deprescribing means reducing or stopping medications that may not be beneficial or may be causing harm. The goal of deprescribing is to maintain or improve quality of life.

Deprescribing involves patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and policy makers. 

Deprescribing MUST ALWAYS be done with the help of your doctor, nurse or pharmacisT. 

 Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about deprescribing

Did you know?

71% of Canadian seniors are willing to stop a medication if their doctor says it is possible (Sirois et al. 2017).

Why deprescribe?

Over time and with age, some medications can become unnecessary or even harmful because of side effects, drug interactions and hospitalizations.

Harmful effects of medication can include:

  • Drug interactions
  • Falls and fractures (click here for additional information on falls)
  • Memory problems
  • Risk of death
 Side effects and harmful effects

Medications that may be harmful and should be considered for deprescribing, especially for people over the age of 65: 


Seniors who fill risky prescriptions in Canada

 (Source:  Morgan  et al.  2016 )

    Risky medications are very costly:

    • Canadian seniors spend $419M per year on potentially harmful prescription medications.

    • Canadian seniors spend $1.4B per year in health care costs to treat harmful effects from medications.

    (Morgan et al. 2016)