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Deprescribing for Psychiatry: The Right Prescription?

[ Vol. 14 , Issue. 1 ]


John D. Cahill* and Swapnil Gupta   Pages 4 - 11 ( 8 )


Background: The term “deprescribing” has been coined to describe a specific intervention designed to optimize the reduction or cessation of medications for which benefits no longer outweigh the risks. As a wider concept, it may also come to embody a shifting perspective in the management of chronic illnesses where multiple, changing factors add complexity and nuance to the risk/benefit calculations that underlie prescription. Despite a burgeoning literature in geriatric medicine and palliative and primary care, the term is only recently being introduced to psychiatry.

Objective: This article seeks to raise the question of whether deprescribing may be useful as a construct, clinical intervention and novel field of research in the field of psychiatry.

Method: A focused review of the literature is used to provide context and frame some arguments for and against the adoption of deprescribing concepts and practice in psychiatry at this time.

Results: With both potential risks as well as benefits, the relative expertise in complex shared decision- making and psychosocial aspects of prescribing, mean the specialty of psychiatry has much to gain from and contribute to the field of deprescribing.

Conclusion: Existing deprescribing guidelines may be adapted to guide initial implementation strategies in psychiatry. These should then undergo rigorous clinical trials to establish effectiveness and/or identify populations of most benefit. Further research is warranted to help guide decisionmaking around long-term psychotropic use.


Deprescribing, psychotropic medication reduction, psychosocial, polypharmacy, anti-epileptic drug, antipsychotic drug.


Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510

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