Older patients sometimes need to get off their meds, but it can be a struggle

from The Washington Post
August 1, 2016
By Ravi Parikh

I’m a doctor, so prescribing medicine comes easy. It’s what I’ve learned to do throughout my training. And it’s usually what patients expect when they come to me with a complaint.

But when medicines cause more harm than good, it may be time to “de-prescribe.” And that can be problematic.

Earlier this year, a frail 75-year-old man limped into my office in Boston. A few months prior, he’d practically jogged to the clinic, boasting of how he could run the two miles from his house without stopping. We chatted at the time about how he was training for a 5K race. “You should train with me!” he proposed. Although I was half his age, I politely told him that I was in no shape for that.

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