Workstream 1 – Patient, carer and healthcare staff experiences of deprescribing


Research team

Beth Fylan, Theo Raynor, George Peat, Janice Olaniyan



Why is this project important?

Patients who have several health issues often need to take several medicines. This means that they have a higher chance of reacting badly to their medication. Bad reactions to medicines can be because of side effects, or different medicines not mixing well in the body, or medicines causing other health problems (for example kidney or liver problems). For this reason, clinicians review patients’ medicines medicines regularly, and stop those who have become problematic. This Workstream focused on how patients and healthcare professionals experience the process of stopping medicines – often called deprescribing.

What are we doing?

We have looked at how stopping medicines happens in real life for older (aged over 65) patients who are frail – these are patients who are more likely to become ill if they react badly to their medicines. We wanted to find out:

  • What things make stopping medicines easier and more difficult
  • What words we should use to describe how to stop medicines that are understood by both patients and healthcare professionals
  • How healthcare professionals and patients talk to each other about stopping medicines
  • How healthcare professionals and patients decide which medicines to stop and how to stop them safely
  • What the best way is for healthcare professionals and patients to work together when stopping medicines.

To find out about this, we interviewed healthcare professionals, patients and their supporting peers (the people who provide support with medicines, or might discuss them with patients, for example a family member). This study is the first one carried out with patients who actually had a medicine stopped and, where patients were interviewed both before and after their medicines were stopped. With their agreement we also video-recorded the interviews and are making a short film about how they felt.

Patient and public involvement and engagement

We developed our research strategy, identified priorities, and wrote all patient-facing documents and interview schedules in collaboration with members of the public who are experienced in the use of multiple medicines. This allowed us to focus on, and ask questions that are relevant to the context of medicines use and management and important for patients.

Outputs and impact

We are now looking at the interviews to see what we can learn and what we might need to find more about. What we learn from the interviews will help us to develop ways to support healthcare professionals and patients when stopping or reducing medicines.

Contact for more information

Beth Fylan, Theo Raynor, George Peat