Is There a Role for Pharmacoepidemiology in Deprescribing Research?

Deprescribing, the clinically supervised process of tapering or stopping medications with the goal of minimizing inappropriate medication use and improving patient outcomes, has gained significant attention in the last decade. While deprescribing has been mostly used as a solution to address inappropriate medication use and polypharmacy in older adults, there is growing evidence of its utility throughout the lifespan. In addition, finding the appropriate methodological approach in evaluating the impact of deprescribing interventions on health-related outcomes is a topic of interest for clinicians and pharmacoepidemiologists all around the world. Existing Deprescribing Networks (Canadian Deprescribing Network- CaDeN, US Deprescribing Research Network- USDeN, Australian Deprescribing Network- ADeN, or the Network of European Researchers in Deprescribing - NERD) provide valuable resources for clinicians and researchers. Some of these networks provide useful clinical tools, such as evidence-based guidance for implementing deprescribing protocols in clinical practice, while others focus on researchers, offering training opportunities, pilot funding, and tools for conducting research. The evidence to support deprescribing efforts is based on research showing a wide variety of negative health effects of inappropriate medications and polypharmacy, as well as randomized trials testing the efficacy and/or effectiveness of deprescribing interventions on reducing the use of targeted medications. However, clinical studies of medication withdrawal are limited due to challenges in recruitment and retention of participants, as well as limited power to study clinical outcomes and often limited measures of patient-centered outcomes that matter for patients and their caregivers.

Co-sponsored by the US Deprescribing Research Network (USDeN) and Australian Deprescribing Network (ADeN).

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