What is deprescribing?

Medications can provide many benefits to treat and prevent health problems. Medications can help people to live longer, relieve symptoms, and reduce problems related to diseases. Yet medication treatment is a double-edged sword. These same medications can be a bother or cause dangerous side effects, and can be a hassle to people and their caregivers. The benefits and harms of medications in a person can change over time. This can happen as a person ages, if they get sick, start new medications or if their goals of care change. This means that medications which were once helpful may become unsafe or not necessary.

Deprescribing is the thoughtful and planned process of stopping (or reducing the dose) of ‘inappropriate medications’. Inappropriate medications are ones where the potential harms outweigh the benefits, for example ones that are high risk, unnecessary or ineffective. The aim of deprescribing is to maximise wellness and achieve goals of care while minimising risk of medication induced harm.

Do not stop taking or change the dose of your medications without talking to your GP or other healthcare professional. But you can ask them to review your medications.


See the following links for more information:

Click here for 5 questions to ask about your medications when you see your doctor, nurse or pharmacist (Canada). 

Click here for 5 questions to ask before you get any test, treatment, or procedure (Choosing Wisely Australia)

Click here for 3 questions to empower people to be involved in decisions about their health. Ask 3 questions, share information that will help you know what decision is right for you (CeMPED, Sydney University & Family Planning NSW, Australia)


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