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.
Did you know?
71% of Canadian seniors are willing to stop a medication if their doctor says it is possible (Sirois et al. 2017).
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
Medications that may be harmful and should be considered for deprescribing, especially for people over the age of 65:
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen (Non-steroidal inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs)
- Antipsychotic medication when used as a sleeping pill or for dementia (e.g. quetiapine/Seroquel®, risperidone/Risperdal®)
- Long-acting type-2 diabetes medications (e.g. glyburide/DiaBeta®)
- Medications for allergies and itchiness: first-generation antihistamines (e.g. brompheniramine/Dimetapp®)
- Opioid medication for chronic pain (e.g. oxycodone/OxyNeo®, Percocet®)
- Sleeping pills/anti-anxiety medication (e.g. alprazolam/Xanax®, zolpidem/Ambien®)
- Stomach pills for acid reflux: proton-pump inhibitors (e.g. pantoprazole/Pantoloc®)
Seniors who fill risky prescriptions in Canada
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.