This module employs a fictional case to help improve understanding of polypharmacy and approaches for deprescribing. Learn how polypharmacy develops over time, as well as how to recognize common drug-induced symptoms and prescribing cascades.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada suggests five questions to ask your health provider about your medications, especially if you are on a number of drugs.
This drug safety website provides resources and access to data on prescription drugs you can’t get anywhere else. It includes questions to ask before you take a medication, a side effects checker, a drug interaction checker, and a self-quiz to find out if you may be on too many drugs. You can also look up drugs and safety information and report a side effect.
This letter discusses the issues around elders who are on a multitude of drugs and suggests that medication regimes should be challenged routinely. Logical approaches to working with this problem are suggested.
Medstopper is a deprescribing web-based tool developed by a team of health professionals to help doctors and their patients look at a list of medications to decide if some should be stopped or changed. The medications are ranked in order with those least safe or effective at the top (consider stopping first) and colour coded.
Developed by two creative physician/researchers from the School of Medicine at Dartmouth in the USA, the Drug Facts Box gives information about both how safe medications are and how well they work in a form consumers are used to, the Nutrition Box on food packaging.
Best Practice Journal. A practical guide to stopping medicines in older people. Best Pract J 2010;27:10-23.
Sleepwell Nova Scotia is a website that contains information to help people manage insomnia without relying on sleeping pills.
This article uses a case-based approach to provide an overview of, and strategies to address polypharmacy.
This Alberta Long Term Care Centres toolkit provides health professionals and care teams with alternatives for treating responsive behaviours in dementia.