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Addressing the Polypharmacy Challenge in Older People

The Polypharmacy Challenge Blog


Living with Polypharmacy - part 2

The second session of our Living with Polypharmacy panel at the Chronic Living: quality, vitality and health in the 21st Century conference continued with presentations using a variety of methods to make the work of polypharmacy visible.

I presented data from Video Reflexive Ethnography (VRE) workshops with GPs to show a hidden side of medicines talk focusing on the emotions primary care staff feel when faced with stopping or starting a patient's medicines. The VRE method invites professionals to view and reflect on video clips of their practice. One emotion featured heavily in professional talk: fear. Particular drugs were entangled with fear concerning how the drug works, harmful side effects it may cause, the patient’s history with the drug, the clinician’s past encounters with the drug, and future prescribing trends which reach media and public attention. The entanglement of emotional work in prescribing raises questions about interventions to reduce polypharmacy which rely solely on one kind of knowledge: scientific evidence and clinical safety.

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Polypharmacy and multimorbidity: What’s in the journals Jan-Mar 2017?

Here’s a selection of articles of relevance to the APOLLO-MM project published in early 2017.

A Themed Journal Issue on Deprescribing. European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy, January 2017 Vol 24, issue 1
January’s issue of European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy has a themed issue on deprescribing, with an editorial, a number of articles and opinion pieces, some of which are free to access. The aim of the themed issue is to give an introduction to the deprescribing debate, the challenges that surround depescribing and some of the tools available to help with deprescribing. The guest editors, Nina Barnett (who spoke at the APOLLO-MM launch event ) and Barry Jubraj, have also sought to broaden the remit within which deprescribing is discussed. So, there are articles on the patient view of deprescribing, the legal perspective, collaborative decision-making between patients and healthcare professionals, plus the challenges of deprescribing in special populations: older people with multimorbidity, patients in care homes, paediatrics, and people with learning disabilities.
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