How "age-friendly" are deprescribing interventions? A scoping review of deprescribing trials

Health Serv Res. 2023 Feb:58 Suppl 1:123-138. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.14083. Epub 2022 Nov 1.


Objective: To assess how age-friendly deprescribing trials are regarding intervention design and outcome assessment. Reduced use of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) can be addressed by deprescribing-a systematic process of discontinuing and/or reducing the use of PIMs. The 4Ms-"Medication", "Mentation", "Mobility", and "What Matters Most" to the person-can be used to guide assessment of age-friendliness of deprescribing trials.

Data source: Published literature.

Study design: Scoping review.

Data extraction methods: The literature was identified using keywords related to deprescribing and polypharmacy in PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, ProQuest, CINAHL, and Cochrane and snowballing. Study characteristics were extracted and evaluated for consideration of 4Ms.

Principal findings: Thirty-seven of the 564 trials identified met the review eligibility criteria. Intervention design: "Medication" was considered in the intervention design of all trials; "Mentation" was considered in eight trials; "Mobility" (n = 2) and "What Matters Most" (n = 6) were less often considered in the design of intervention. Most trials targeted providers without specifying how matters important to older adults and their families were aligned with deprescribing decisions.

Outcome assessment: "Medication" was the most commonly assessed outcome (n = 33), followed by "Mobility" (n = 13) and "Mentation" (n = 10) outcomes, with no study examining "What Matters Most" outcomes.

Conclusions: "Mentation" and "Mobility", and "What Matters Most" have been considered to varying degrees in deprescribing trials, limiting the potential of deprescribing evidence to contribute to improved clinical practice in building an age-friendly health care system.

Keywords: age-friendly health systems; deprescribing; empirical typology; polypharmacy; review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Deprescriptions*
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / prevention & control
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Polypharmacy
  • Potentially Inappropriate Medication List