What is Deprescribing?

Deprescribing is the planned and supervised process of dose reduction or stopping of medication that might be causing harm, or no longer be of benefit. Deprescribing is part of good prescribing – backing off when doses are too high, or stopping medications that are no longer needed.

Medications that were good then, might not be the best choice now.

The use of some medication, especially as people get older or more ill, can cause more harm than good. Optimizing medication through targeted deprescribing is a vital part of managing chronic conditions, avoiding adverse effects, and improving outcomes. The goal of deprescribing is to reduce medication burden and maintain or improve quality of life.

Because stopping medications can sometimes produce withdrawal effects or worsen some conditions, deprescribing needs to be done carefully in partnership between a patient and their healthcare provider.

Prescribers have asked for guidance and tools to help them reduce or stop drugs. This website houses and contains links to useful resources, including guidelines developed through deprescribing.org, as well as plain language information for patients.

Check out the Canadian Medication Appropriateness and Deprescribing Network for more patient information.