This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Learn more about cookies and how to manage them.

Health care professionals' attitudes towards deprescribing in older patients with limited life expectancy: A systematic review

Article date: May 2019

By: Carina Lundby, Trine Graabæk, Jesper Ryg, Jens Søndergaard, Anton Pottegård, Dorthe Susanne Nielsen in Volume 85, Issue 5, pages 868-892


The aim of this systematic review was to explore health care professionals' attitudes towards deprescribing in older people with limited life expectancy.


A systematic literature search was conducted from inception to December 2017 using MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL. Studies were included if they specifically concerned older people (≥65 years) with limited life expectancy, including those residing in any type of aged care facility, or were based on representative patient profiles. Results were analyzed inspired by the Joanna Briggs Institute's method for synthesis of qualitative data. Studies were characterized using a checklist for reporting of qualitative research.


Eight studies were included. Six studies explored health care professionals' views on deprescribing in general, and two studies focused specifically on psychotropic agents. All eight studies explored the views of physicians, mostly general practitioners, while three studies also considered other health care professionals. Four themes related to health care professionals' attitudes towards deprescribing were identified: (i) patient and relative involvement; (ii) the importance of teamwork; (iii) health care professionals' self‐assurance and skills; and (iv) the impact of organizational factors. Within each of these themes, 3–4 subthemes were identified and analysed.


Our results suggest that health care professionals' decisions to engage in deprescribing activities with older people with limited life expectancy depend on multiple factors which are highly interdependent. Consequently, there is an urgent need for more research on how to approach deprescribing in clinical practice within this population.

DOI: 10.1111/bcp.13861

View this article