Few studies have evaluated the characteristics of elderly patients with polypharmacy refusing deprescribing. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use in elderly patients accepting and refusing a deprescribing intervention and to investigate factors associated with deprescribing refusal.
We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study by analyzing the electronic medical records from a single hospital. All consecutive patients aged 65 years or older who reported the use of five or more medications upon admission to the orthopedic ward from January 2015 to December 2016 and who were approached by a pharmacist for polypharmacy screening were included. Patients who had provided consent for the deprescribing intervention by the internal medicine physicians were defined as the acceptance group, and patients who did not were defined as the refusal group. The primary outcome was the use of any PIMs at admission, based on the 2015 American Geriatric Society Beers Criteria. Using multivariable logistic regression, predictive factors of refusing deprescribing were also evaluated.
During the study period, 136 patients were eligible. Of those, 82 patients (60.3%) accepted the deprescribing intervention, and 54 patients (39.7%) declined the intervention. The mean age of all the patients was 81.1 years, and the mean number of medications at admission was 9.3. The overall proportion of patients taking any PIMs at admission was 77.2%. The proportion of patients taking any PIMs at admission was not different between the acceptance and refusal groups (78.0% and 75.9%, respectively; p = 0.84). None of the measured characteristics, including age, gender, residential status, comorbidity, alcohol use, smoking status, number of medications, or number of PIMs, were found to be associated with deprescribing refusal.
The prevalence of any PIM use did not differ among elderly orthopedic patients with polypharmacy according to refusal or acceptance of the deprescribing intervention. Furthermore, none of the analyzed characteristics were found to be associated with deprescribing refusal. Given the high prevalence of PIM use, a strategy is needed for combating polypharmacy among elderly patients reluctant to undergo deprescribing.