A Multi-Method Approach to Exploring Prescribing Cascades

Prescribing cascades occur when the side effect from a drug is thought to be a symptom of a new condition, which results in starting a second drug to “treat” the side effect. How and why prescribing cascades start and continue, their impact on patients, and/or how they can be prevented or reversed are all unknown.

This research project will help identify strategies to prevent and reduce problematic polypharmacy caused by prescribing cascades. We will conduct interviews with patients, caregivers and health care professionals to provide an in-depth analysis of behaviours to determine why prescribing cascades start and continue and what prevents them from being identified or better managed.

Armed with knowledge on how and why prescribing cascades start and continue, the team aims to inform strategies to identify prescribing cascades earlier or prevent them altogether in order to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults.

Lead: Dr. Barbara Farrell

Co-investigators: Dr. Lianne Jeffs, Dr. Lisa McCarthy

Contact: deprescribing@bruyere.org

Funder (2017-2020): CIHR