How to reduce medications for people with multiple long-term conditions
Factors identified to help clinicians deprescribe include clarity on how and when to prescribe outside of guidelines, as well as access to high-quality data about patients’ medication history
NEW ALERT: National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has published new research published that gives recommendations on how to reduce medications safely or to stop patients’ medicines. This is specifically in the context of people with multiple long-term conditions who often take many different medicines (polypharmacy).
Polypharmacy can be appropriate and necessary where multiple medicines are clinically indicated and accepted by the individual as improving their wellbeing. But it can also be problematic when patients have to take more medicines than they need to achieve the health outcome desired and when they have a negative impact on wellbeing or are not adding any value. This is where advice on how to reduce medications becomes important.
The study in the alert involved researching papers that explored how deprescribing happens in practice and this helped them identify factors that help clinicians to deprescribe.
These factors include:
- Clarity on how and when to prescribe outside of guidelines, and on the professional responsibilities when doing so
- Access to high-quality data about patients’ medication history, life stage and key events such as recent bereavement
- Discussing how to identify if a medication is necessary when it is first prescribed, ensuring there is a shared understanding of the purpose of the treatment
- Building a trusting relationship with the patients
Ashtons has a training seminar on polypharmacy and deprescribing specifically at end of life, where there are additional challenges. To book this, please speak to your visiting pharmacist. Or, if you are not currently an Ashtons client please contact us to find out more about the training we provide.
To read the alert, please see the NIHR website.