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A themed journal issue on deprescribing

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We are delighted to present this themed issue on ‘deprescribing’, a subject that has gained increasing importance in prescribing practice across the world over the last decade. For example, at a recent European General Practitioner conference that attracted over 3000 participants, four symposia were devoted to medication appropriateness, polypharmacy and deprescribing. The appetite for safe deprescribing was clear, but clinicians (we consider pharmacists to be clinicians) voiced concerns including a lack of robust guidance, patient attitudes, and a fear of medicolegal consequences from deprescribing. Our themed issue provides an introduction to the deprescribing debate, with articles ranging from reviews by international experts on the current problems surrounding deprescribing, to a description of practical tools to support the process. We have also attempted to broaden the deprescribing debate by including articles on the patient view of deprescribing, a legal perspective, and the role of nurses working with patients, pharmacists and doctors to make deprescribing decisions collaboratively. Our themed issue also considers deprescribing in special populations such as older people with falls, patients in care homes, and, more briefly, in paediatrics and people with learning disabilities. In short, we hope to provide the reader with an accessible, practical overview of the emerging area of deprescribing.

In the first of our review articles, Polly Duncan and colleagues outline key steps in the deprescribing process (see page 37) and identify that while the harms of inappropriate polypharmacy are established, there is a paucity of evidence around the benefit of deprescribing in general practice settings. Focusing on the UK perspective, the authors suggest that doctors in general practice …

Correspondence to Barry Jubraj, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, King's College London, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NH, UK; barry.jubraj{at}kcl.ac.uk

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