International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 678–681 | Cite as

Recommendations to support deprescribing medications late in life

  • Adam ToddEmail author
  • Holly M. Holmes


It is widely acknowledged that patients—particularly those late in life—are frequently exposed to the harms of medication. To minimize these harms, several frameworks have been developed by which prescribing can be optimized. In the context of diminishing life expectancy, these frameworks can be used to reduce medications that are no longer necessary, but appear to fall short of actual guidelines that incorporate a consideration of stopping medications. In this commentary, we present recommendations that could be incorporated into prescribing processes for all healthcare professionals and, ultimately, used to support the rationalization or deprescribing of medication in diminished life expectancy. We frame these recommendations in the same context as guidance for the initiation and discontinuation of implantable cardiac devices and argue that the two processes—with regards to decision-making—should be the same. We present our recommendations with preventive medication use in mind, and use statin therapy as an illustrative example.


Deprescribing Polypharmacy Rationalizing medications 




Conflicts of interest

Both authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest involving the work under consideration for publication, have no relevant financial activities outside the work being considered, and have no other relationships or activities that readers could perceive to have influenced the submitted work.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pharmacy, School of Medicine, Pharmacy and HealthDurham UniversityStockton-on-TeesUK
  2. 2.Department of General Internal MedicineUniversity of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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