Willingness of older people living with dementia and mild cognitive impairment and their caregivers to have medications deprescribed

Emily Reeve, Elizabeth A. Bayliss, Susan Shetterly, Mahesh Maiyani, Kathy S. Gleason, Jonathan D. Norton, Orla C. Sheehan, Ariel R. Green, Matthew L. Maciejewski, Melanie Drace, Jennifer Sawyer, Cynthia M. Boyd

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5 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: people living with cognitive impairment commonly take multiple medications including potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs), which puts them at risk of medication related harms. 

AIMS: to explore willingness to have a medication deprescribed of older people living with cognitive impairment (dementia or mild cognitive impairment) and multiple chronic conditions and assess the relationship between willingness, patient characteristics and belief about medications. 

METHODS: cross-sectional study using results from the revised Patients' Attitudes Towards Deprescribing questionnaire (rPATDcog) collected as baseline data in the OPTIMIZE study, a pragmatic, cluster-randomised trial educating patients and clinicians about deprescribing. Eligible participants were 65+, diagnosed with dementia or mild cognitive impairment, and prescribed at least five-long-term medications. 

RESULTS: the questionnaire was mailed to 1,409 intervention patients and 553 (39%) were returned and included in analysis. Participants had a mean age of 80.1 (SD 7.4) and 52.4% were female. About 78.5% (431/549) of participants said that they would be willing to have one of their medications stopped if their doctor said it was possible. Willingness to deprescribe was negatively associated with getting stressed when changes are made and with previously having a bad experience with stopping a medication (P < 0.001 for both). 

CONCLUSION: most older people living with cognitive impairment are willing to deprescribe. Addressing previous bad experiences with stopping a medication and stress when changes are made to medications may be key points to discuss during deprescribing conversations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberafac335
Number of pages9
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2023


  • cognitive impairment
  • dementia
  • deprescribing
  • older people
  • patient attitudes
  • potentially inappropriate medication use

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