People's attitudes, beliefs, and experiences regarding polypharmacy and willingness to Deprescribe

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Sep;61(9):1508-14. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12418. Epub 2013 Aug 26.


Objectives: To capture people's attitudes, beliefs, and experiences regarding the number of medications they are taking and their feelings about stopping medications.

Design: Administration of a validated questionnaire.

Setting: Multidisciplinary ambulatory consulting service at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Participants: Participants were individuals aged 18 and older (median 71.5) taking at least one regular prescription medication; 100 participants completed all items of the questionnaire, 65 of whom were aged 65 and older.

Measurements: Participants were administered the 15-item Patients' Attitudes Towards Deprescribing (PATD) questionnaire.

Results: Participants were taking an average of 10 different prescription and nonprescription (including complementary), regular and as-needed medications. More than 60% felt that they were taking a "large number" of medications, and 92% stated that they would be willing to stop one or more of their current medications if possible. Number of regular medications, age, and number of medical conditions were not found to be correlated with willingness to stop a medication. The findings were similar in older and younger participants.

Conclusion: This study has shown that a cohort of mostly older adults were largely accepting of a trial of cessation of medication(s) that their prescriber deemed to be no longer required. Because few factors were associated with willingness to cease medications, all patients should be individually evaluated for deprescribing.

Keywords: deprescribing; discontinuation; elderly; polypharmacy; potentially inappropriate medications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude*
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nonprescription Drugs / pharmacology*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Polypharmacy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Efficacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Nonprescription Drugs