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Josh Niznik, PharmD, PhD
Joshua Niznik, PharmD, PhD

It’s common for older adults to take multiple medications. And while some patients  choose to take as few medications as possible, Dr. Josh Niznik says that others, “cling to their medications for some source of security.”

In light of this, some prescribers may find it hard to deprescribe medications that patients have taken for years. Specifically, these older patients may feel like the clinician is giving up on them. Furthermore, deprescribing medications when a patient suffers from dementia complicates the situation even more. According to Dr. Niznik, family members and informal caregivers might see deprescribing as “withdrawing care.”

Niznik stresses the importance of grounding deprescribing in what’s important to the individual. Prescribers should be clear that they’re invested in what’s best for the patient. He says that if some older patients stop taking taking bisphosphonates or medications to treat type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol, “they won’t quickly decline or have a rebound effect. If you stop [those medications], nothing happens.”

Read more of Dr. Niznik’s comments in the full JAMA article, Deciding When It’s Better to Deprescribe Medicines Than to Continue Them.