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Study, Dec/21: Health Impacts and Characteristics of Deprescribing Interventions


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The full title of this Canadian study is "Health Impacts and Characteristics of Deprescribing Interventions in Older Adults: Protocol for a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis".






Background: Deprescribing, a relatively recent concept, has been proposed as a promising solution to the growing issues of polypharmacy and use of medications of questionable benefit among older adults. However, little is known about the health outcomes of deprescribing interventions.


Objective: This paper presents the protocol of a study that aims to contribute to the knowledge on deprescribing by addressing two specific objectives: (1) describe the impact of deprescribing in adults ≥60 years on health outcomes or quality of life; and (2) determine the characteristics of effective interventions in deprescribing.


Methods: Primary studies targeting three concepts (older adults, deprescribing, and health or quality of life outcomes) will be included in the review. The search will be performed using key international databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Ageline, PsycInfo), and a special effort will be made to identify gray literature. Two reviewers will independently screen the articles, extract the information, and evaluate the quality of the selected studies. If methodologically feasible, meta-analyses will be performed for groups of intervention studies reporting on deprescribing interventions for similar medications, used for similar or identical indications, and reporting on similar outcomes (eg, benzodiazepines used against insomnia and studies reporting on quality of sleep or quality of life). Alternatively, the results will be presented in bottom-line statements (objective 1) and a matrix outlining effective interventions (objective 2).


Results: The knowledge synthesis may be limited by the availability of high-quality clinical trials on deprescribing and their outcomes in older adults. Additionally, analyses will likely be affected by studies on the deprescribing of different types of molecules within the same indication (eg, different pharmacological classes and medications to treat hypertension) and different measures of health and quality of life outcomes for the same indication. Nevertheless, we expect the review to identify which deprescribing interventions lead to improved health outcomes among seniors and which of their characteristics contribute to these outcomes.


Conclusions: This systematic review will contribute to a better understanding of the health outcomes of deprescribing interventions among seniors.


Trial registration: PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews CRD42015020866; https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?ID=CRD42015020866.


International registered report identifier (irrid): PRR1-10.2196/25200.


Full Paper:



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