Polypharmacy, oligopharmacy & deprescribing: resources to support local delivery

· East and South East England Specialist Pharmacy Services

The updated ‘Polypharmacy Resource’ supports clinical staff, including all sectors of the pharmacy profession, in acute, mental health primary and community care, and commissioners, in helping patients to get the best health outcome through evidence based medication review. It contains an introduction to the subject of polypharmacy, oligopharmacy and deprescribing and is divided into four sections, including:

  • description and diagrammatic representation of the process of patient centred polypharmacy review
  • patient centred approach to polypharmacy
  • examples of tools and initiatives used around the UK to support reduction of inappropriate polypharmacy
  • overview of four key documents relating to polypharmacy
  • list of useful references.

These documents are designed to help address polypharmacy as part of overall medicines optimisation strategies andto assist with medication review and decisions around deprescribing in the context of inappropriate polypharmacy. They can be used either in successive consultations to address one or a small number of polypharmacy issues at a time, or as part of a single holistic medication review. While likely to be most applicable in community settings, the principles can be applied to all patient care settings.

The “patient centred approach to polypharmacy”, formerly known as “polypharmacy and medication review (seven steps)” is also available as a two page sheet for use in practice.