Active deprescribing program in chronic kidney disease patients undergoing haemodialysis

Nephrology (Carlton). 2021 Nov;26(11):890-897. doi: 10.1111/nep.13936. Epub 2021 Jul 15.


Background: Deprescribing is gaining attention of medical community to address polypharmacy. Existing deprescribing tools were not validated in haemodialysis population. We designed this study to assess the pill burden of patients undergoing haemodialysis and to measure the outcome after implementation of an active deprescribing program.

Methods: An evidence based deprescription tool was formulated. All patients who were on dialysis for 3 months or more were eligible to participate. Medication reconciliation followed by medication list evaluation for appropriateness was done for all patients. All inappropriate medications were discontinued followed by monitoring for 6 months for complications. Primary outcome was the average number of medications and pills per patient before and 12 weeks after implementation of deprescribing program.

Results: We enrolled 150 patients to the active deprescribing program. Mean age was 60.4 ± 10.9 years. After deprescription, there were significant reduction in the number of medications from 11 (Interquartile range 8-13.25) to 8 (IQR 6-9) (p < .001) and reduction in the number of pills from 16 (IQR 12.75-21.25) to 11 (IQR 8-14.25) (p < .001). Pill burden accessed using Living with Medication Questionnaire-Visual Analogue Scale score also had a significant reduction from 7 (IQR 5-8) to 4 (IQR 3-5) (p < .001).

Conclusion: Polypharmacy is a significant problem in haemodialysis patients, which can lead to poor quality of life and health hazards due to side effects of medications. Implementation of a proactive deprescribing program can cut down polypharmacy to a significant extent.

Keywords: chronic kidney disease; deprescribing; haemodialysis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Deprescriptions*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing
  • Male
  • Medication Reconciliation
  • Medication Therapy Management*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Safety
  • Polypharmacy
  • Program Evaluation
  • Quality of Life
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / therapy*
  • Time Factors