New Guidelines for Deprescribing Medications in Older Adults

The project lead Barbara Farrell and the project team hold up smartphones

Award Date: 2017

Project Lead(s): Barbara Farrell, Clinical Scientist

Project Title: Building Capacity for Deprescribing Guideline Development, Implementation and Evaluation

What is the issue?

As people age, previously safe medications may do more harm than goodThe process of reducing or stopping medications is called deprescribing. Knowing when and how to safely deprescribe medications is challenging.  

What did we do?

Our team developed five new guidelines and tools to help healthcare professionals make decisions about deprescribing specific medicationsWe also wanted to encourage people taking medicationto discuss the topic with their doctorsWe created a manual, training videospatient pamphlets and infographicswebinars, and video and written testimonials. Program materials were translated into nine languages, and we used Facebook and Twitter to build awareness. We also made a mobile app and made it and the manual for developing guidelines freely available on the website Deprescribing.orgFinally, we hosted two in-person events: an international three-day symposium for guideline developers, healthcare providers, educators, researchers, and members of the public; and a local one-day fair for members of the public.

What did we find?

Our project helped healthcare professionals learn about safe ways for older patients to reduce or stop taking medications. Over 130 attendees from ten countries participated in the symposium. Many international healthcare professionals have adopted the new deprescribing guidelines. More than 100 people attended the Deprescribing Fair. Our social media platforms grew significantly and reached around the world