Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Rationalising medications through deprescribing

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 07 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l570

Rapid Response:

Re: Rationalising medications through deprescribing

Deprescribing medications that are no longer helpful, or may have become harmful, is not only attractive to patients, physicians & payers but also represents good medical practice. On the face of it, it is somewhat disappointing therefore, that the considerable time and expertise required for review seems to lead to such a small reduction in the tablet count. Figures presented suggest that for 5 patients taking a total of almost 40 medications, a skilled doctor would take 2.5 hours to consider the issues, and having done that would typically deprescribe only one of those medications.

Perhaps we should instead be encouraged that we seem to prescribe drugs that are indicated and needed. So, for a patient with multiple morbidities, polypharmacy may reflect better medical practice than adopting the notion that the fewer drugs a patient is on, the better.

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 February 2019
Sundas Butt
medical student
Mark Davies, consultant in anaesthesia & perioperative medicine
Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust
Liverpool L7 8XP