Did you know that many older adults are interested in “deprescribing” their medications?
A new poll conducted by the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging found that 80% of adults aged 50 to 80 would be open to stopping one or more prescription medications they’ve been taking for more than a year, if their healthcare provider said it was possible.
Additionally, 26% of those polled said they had already stopped taking at least one medication in the past two years.
While deprescribing can have numerous benefits, including avoiding harmful side effects and reducing healthcare costs, it’s important for patients to communicate with their healthcare providers when considering stopping or decreasing medication.
In fact, of those who said they stopped taking a medication they’d been on for more than a year, 35% did so without consulting a health professional.
The poll also highlighted the importance of medication reviews, which can help patients and providers determine if any medications are no longer necessary or may be causing more harm than good.
The poll found that 82% of people aged 50 to 80 take at least one prescription medication regularly, and 28% believe they take too many medications.
Unfortunately, many older adults may not be aware of the benefit of a comprehensive medication review, which is covered by Medicare and other insurance.
The poll found that while over 90% of older adults who take at least one prescription medication expect their provider to review their list of medicines at least annually, research has shown that this is often not the case.
It’s important for patients and providers to communicate openly and regularly about medication use and any potential changes, including deprescribing.
Patients can ask for advice about stopping medications at their next appointment, while providers can help educate patients on the risks and benefits of different medications and work with them to create a personalized medication plan.
Overall, deprescribing and medication reviews can lead to improved health outcomes and a better quality of life for older adults.
How to stop your medications safely
If you’re considering stopping one or more of your medications, it’s important to do so safely and with the guidance of a healthcare provider. Here are some tips:
Talk to your healthcare provider: Let your healthcare provider know that you’re interested in stopping one or more of your medications. They can help you determine whether it’s safe to do so and provide guidance on how to stop taking the medication.
Follow your provider’s instructions: Your provider may recommend gradually decreasing the dose of the medication over a period of time. This can help minimize any potential side effects of stopping the medication abruptly.
Be aware of potential side effects: Depending on the medication you’re stopping, you may experience withdrawal symptoms or a rebound effect. Your provider can help you identify potential side effects and develop a plan to manage them.
Monitor your symptoms: As you’re stopping the medication, it’s important to monitor your symptoms carefully. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any new or worsening symptoms.
Don’t stop taking medication on your own: It’s important to never stop taking medication on your own without consulting with a healthcare provider. Stopping medication abruptly can be dangerous and lead to serious health consequences.
By working with your healthcare provider and following their guidance, you can safely stop your medications and ensure that you’re getting the best possible care for your health needs.
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