Reducing potentially inappropriate polypharmacy at a national and international level: the impact of deprescribing networks

Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2024 May 13. doi: 10.1080/17512433.2024.2355270. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Over the past decade, polypharmacy has increased dramatically. Measurable harms include falls, fractures, cognitive impairment, and death. The associated costs are massive and contribute substantially to low value health care. Deprescribing is a promising solution, but there are barriers. Establishing a network to address polypharmacy can help overcome barriers by connecting individuals with an interest and expertise in deprescribing and can act as an important source of motivation and resources.

Areas covered: Over the past decade, several deprescribing networks were launched to help tackle polypharmacy, with evidence of individual and collective impact. A network approach has several advantages; it can spark interest, ideas and enthusiasm through information sharing, meetings and conversations with the public, providers, and other key stakeholders. In this special report, the details of how four deprescribing networks were established across the globe are detailed.

Expert opinion: Networks create links between people who lead existing and/or budding deprescribing practices and policy initiatives, can influence people with a shared passion for deprescribing, and facilitate sharing of intellectual capital and tools to take initiatives further and strengthen impact.This report should inspire others to establish their own deprescribing networks, a critical step in accelerating a global deprescribing movement.

Keywords: Deprescribing; Medication appropriateness; Medication overload; Network; Polypharmacy.