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Discontinuation of Unnecessary Medications in Older Adults

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OBJECTIVE: Identifying and managing the use of medications that may be discontinued is a daunting task for the health care team, especially for the consultant pharmacist. This article discusses a framework to evaluate the risks and benefits of medications. A case-based approach will be employed to demonstrate the application of evidence-based medicine and the challenges that pharmacists face in attempting to discontinue medications in older adults.

DATA SOURCES: Medline and Micromedex were used as resources for primary literature as well as drug information.

STUDY SELECTION: Studies were identified based on their relevance to the case to demonstrate the importance of applying emerging literature and evidence-based medicine.

DATA EXTRACTION: Guidelines on managing osteoporosis as well as diabetes in older adults were used for this case.

DATA SYNTHESIS: A structured framework was applied to demonstrate considerations when tackling challenging medication regimens.

CONCLUSION: Patient-centered, individualized medication regimens need to be developed and updated based on the needs of the patient as well as the wishes of the family and caregivers. This is a dynamic process that benefits from the consultant pharmacist, who understands the complexity of the medications and is essential to addressing the use of unnecessary medications.
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Keywords: Beers criteria; Discontinuation of medications; Long-term care; Unnecessary medications

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-11-01

More about this publication?
  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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