Barriers and Enablers of Healthcare Providers to Deprescribe Cardiometabolic Medication in Older Patients: A Focus Group Study

Jamila Abou, Stijn Crutzen, Vashti Tromp, Mette Heringa, Rob van Marum, Petra Elders, Katja Taxis, Petra Denig, Jacqueline Hugtenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Benefits and risks of preventive medication change over time for ageing patients and deprescribing of medication may be needed. Deprescribing of cardiovascular and antidiabetic drugs can be challenging and is not widely implemented in daily practice. Objective: The aim of this study was to identify barriers and enablers of deprescribing cardiometabolic medication as seen by healthcare providers (HCPs) of different disciplines, and to explore their views on their specific roles in the process of deprescribing. Methods: Three focus groups with five general practitioners, eight pharmacists, three nurse practitioners, two geriatricians, and two elder care physicians were conducted in three cities in The Netherlands. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Directed content analysis was performed on the basis of the Theoretical Domains Framework. Two researchers independently coded the data. Results: Most HCPs agreed that deprescribing of cardiometabolic medication is relevant but that barriers include lack of evidence and expertise, negative beliefs and fears, poor communication and collaboration between HCPs, and lack of resources. Having a guideline was considered an enabler for the process of deprescribing of cardiometabolic medication. Some HCPs feared the consequences of discontinuing cardiovascular or antidiabetic medication, while others were not motivated to deprescribe when the patients experienced no problems with their medication. HCPs of all disciplines stated that adequate patient communication and involving the patients and relatives in the decision making enables deprescribing. Barriers to deprescribing included the use of medication initiated by specialists, the poor exchange of information, and the amount of time it takes to deprescribe cardiometabolic medication. The HCPs were uncertain about each other’s roles and responsibilities. A multidisciplinary approach including the pharmacist and nurse practitioner was seen as the best way to support the process of deprescribing and address barriers related to resources. Conclusion: HCPs recognized the importance of deprescribing cardiometabolic medication as a medical decision that can only be made in close cooperation with the patient. To successfully accomplish the process of deprescribing they strongly recommended a multidisciplinary approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-221
Number of pages13
JournalDrugs and Aging
Issue number3
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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