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Patient attitudes and experiences that predict medication discontinuation in the Veterans Health Administration.

Linsky A, Simon SR, Stolzmann K, Meterko M. Patient attitudes and experiences that predict medication discontinuation in the Veterans Health Administration. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association : JAPhA. 2018 Jan 1; 58(1):13-20.

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OBJECTIVES: Polypharmacy is associated with adverse medication effects. One potential solution is deprescribing, which is the intentional, proactive, rational discontinuation of a medication that is no longer indicated or for which the potential harms outweigh the potential benefits. We identified patient characteristics, attitudes, and health care experiences associated with medication discontinuation. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We conducted a national mail survey, with the use of the Patient Perceptions of Discontinuation (PPoD) instrument, of 1600 veterans receiving primary care at Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers and prescribed 5 or more concurrent medications. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was the response to: "Have you ever stopped taking a medicine (with or without your doctor's knowledge)?" The primary predictors of interest were 8 validated attitudinal scales. Other predictors included demographics, health status, and health care experiences. RESULTS: Respondents (n  = 803; adjusted response rate 52%) were predominantly male (85%); non-Hispanic white (68%), 65 years of age or older (60%), and with poor (16%) or fair (45%) health. Participant attitudes toward medications and their providers were generally favorable. One in 3 patients (34%) reported having stopped a medicine in the past. In a multivariable logistic regression model (P < 0.001; pseudo-R  = 0.31; c-statistic  = 0.82), factors associated with discontinuation included being told or asking to stop a medicine, greater interest in deprescribing and shared decision making, and higher education. Factors associated with decreased discontinuation were more prescriptions, higher trust in provider, and seeing a VA clinical pharmacist. CONCLUSION: More highly educated patients with interest in deprescribing and shared decision making may be more receptive to discontinuation discussions. Future research evaluating how to incorporate this survey and these findings into clinical workflow through the design of clinical interventions may help to promote safe and rational medication use.

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