International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 949–957 | Cite as

Older peoples’ attitudes regarding polypharmacy, statin use and willingness to have statins deprescribed in Australia

  • Katie Qi
  • Emily ReeveEmail author
  • Sarah N. Hilmer
  • Sallie-Anne Pearson
  • Slade Matthews
  • Danijela Gnjidic
Research Article


Background Deprescribing is the process of medication withdrawal with the aims of reducing the harms of potentially inappropriate medication use and improving patient outcomes. Deprescribing of statins may be indicated for some older people, because the evidence for benefit in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease is limited and there is an increased risk of side effects in old age. Objective To determine older peoples’ attitudes and beliefs regarding medication use and their willingness to have regular medications, particularly statins, deprescribed. Setting An Australian acute-care hospital. Method A cross-sectional study of patients admitted to a teaching hospital in Sydney, Australia, aged ≥65 years and taking a statin was conducted. Attitudes and beliefs regarding medication use and willingness to have medications or statins deprescribed were captured using the validated Patients’ Attitudes Towards Deprescribing questionnaire, supplemented with additional statin-specific questions. Main outcome measures. Older inpatients’ attitudes and perspectives towards stopping medications, in particular statins. Results Overall, 180 participants were recruited, with a median age of 78 years, (interquartile range 71–85). Eighty-nine percent (95 % CI 84.4–93.6) of participants reported that they would be willing to stop one or more of their regular medications if their doctor said it was possible. Ninety-five percent (95 % CI 91.8–98.2) agreed that they would be willing to have a statin deprescribed. Moreover, 94 % (95 % CI 90.5–97.5) of participants expressed concern regarding the potential side effects of taking a statin. Conclusion The majority of older inpatients using statins are willing to have one or more of their current medications, including statins, deprescribed. These findings can be used to inform clinical practice and interventional statin deprescribing studies to optimise medication use in older adults.


Attitudes Australia Beliefs Deprescribing Older people Polypharmacy Statins 



The authors would like to acknowledge Ms Michele Thai who contributed to the data collection.


The authors received no sponsorship or funding for this study. Danijela Gnjidic is supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Early Career Fellowship. Sallie Pearson is a Cancer Institute NSW Career Development Fellow.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katie Qi
    • 1
  • Emily Reeve
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Sarah N. Hilmer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sallie-Anne Pearson
    • 1
    • 4
  • Slade Matthews
    • 2
  • Danijela Gnjidic
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Sydney Medical SchoolUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre, Kolling Institute of Medical ResearchRoyal North Shore HospitalSt LeonardsAustralia
  4. 4.Sydney School of Public HealthUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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