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Margraf AM, Davoodi NM, Chen K, Shield RR, McAuliffe LM, Collins CM, Zullo AR. Provider beliefs about the ideal design of an opioid deprescribing and substitution intervention for older adults. American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. 2023 Jan 5; 80(2):53-60.
PURPOSE: Opportunities exist to meaningfully reduce suboptimal prescription opioid use among older adults. Deprescribing is one possible approach to reducing suboptimal use. Appropriate interventions should outline how to carefully taper opioids, closely monitor adverse events, substitute viable alternative and affordable nonopioid pain treatments, and initiate medications for opioid use disorder to properly manage use disorders, as needed. We sought to document and understand provider perceptions to begin developing effective and safe opioid deprescribing interventions. METHODS: We conducted 3 semistructured focus groups that covered topics such as participant perspectives on opioid deprescribing in older adults, how to design an ideal intervention, and how to identify potential barriers or facilitators in implementing an intervention. Focus group transcripts were double coded and qualitatively analyzed to identify overarching themes. RESULTS: Healthcare providers (n = 17), including physicians, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, and administrative staff, participated in 3 focus groups. We identified 4 key themes: (1) involve pharmacists in deprescribing and empower them as leaders of an opioid deprescribing service; (2) ensure tight integration and close collaboration throughout the deprescribing process from the inpatient to outpatient settings; (3) more expansive inclusion criteria than age alone; and (4) provision of access to alternative pharmacological and nonpharmacological pain management modalities to patients. CONCLUSION: Our findings, which highlight various healthcare provider beliefs about opioid deprescribing interventions, are expected to serve as a framework for other organizations to develop and implement interventions. Future studies should incorporate patients'' and family caregivers'' perspectives.