MedsAware: Deprescribing Action Week
MedsAware is SHPA’s Deprescribing Action Week, raising awareness around polypharmacy and deprescribing.
Deprescribing describes the process of discontinuing medicines that are no longer required, or for which the risk of harm outweighs the benefits in the individual.
MedsAware Week 2023 seeks to empower Australians and their carers, family and friends, together with pharmacists, doctors, nurses and other care team members, to optimise every medicines regimen to ensure it is current, effective and safe.
Through MedsAware, SHPA is advocating for the expert skills of Australian pharmacists as leaders in deprescribing to minimise polypharmacy and prevent medication-related harm.
As reported by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety:
'Often, older people need assistance to take medicines correctly, whether they live in their own home or in residential aged care.
'Medicines clearly have beneficial effects and can improve health and wellbeing, but some may also have harmful unintended consequences. We heard numerous instances of inappropriate management of medication regimens.'
As the peak body driving deprescribing, SHPA is proud to lead the push for more formal recognition as part of our Transformation 2024 agenda.
MedsAware: overview of deprescribing for Deprescribing Action Week
Wednesday 16 August 2023
Presented by Dr Emily Reeve, Chair of the Australian Deprescribing Network and Senior Research Fellow, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic
- The principles of and evidence for deprescribing.
- Scenarios where deprescribing should be considered
- Planning, implementing and monitoring deprescribing
- The role of consumer engagement and shared decision-making in deprescribing
- Deprescribing tools that can be used in clinical practice.
Watch the webinar (SHPA members only)
The problem: what is polypharmacy?
The action: what is deprescribing?
From the President:
‘Deprescribing is in the DNA of SHPA, Australia’s pharmacy organisation for team-based, specialty pharmacist care.
‘The world’s first published use of “deprescribing” was in our flagship Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research (JPPR) 20 years ago, in ‘Deprescribing: Achieving Better Health Outcomes for Older People through Reducing Medications’.
‘As medicines experts, pharmacists are best placed to detect and prevent inappropriate use of high-risk medicines, including antipsychotics, that are widespread in residential aged care facilities.
'MedsAware Week 2023 seeks to empower Australians and their carers, family and friends, together with pharmacists, doctors and other care team members, to optimise every medicines regimen to ensure it is current, effective and safe.
‘We’re proud to lead the MedsAware message and work with our partners to embed deprescribing as a central principle of safe health care, to reduce polypharmacy and hyperpolypharmacy and ensure more Australians stay out of hospital.’
— SHPA President Tom Simpson
A message from Dr Mike Freelander MP:
For #MedsAware 2023, Mike Freelander MP, Federal Member for Macarthur (NSW) and Chair of the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, discusses the importance of our #deprescribing message.
'Hospital pharmacists and community pharmacists are highly trained and uniquely placed to help us rationalise our use of medications, make sure the medications are the right ones [for us], and that they are medications we need to be on...'
'Take advantage of the MedsAware: Deprescribing Action Week to speak to your pharmacists about this.'
The Australian Deprescribing Network (ADeN) involves clinicians, academic researchers, policy makers, students and consumers working together to develop the evidence-base, clinical guidance and knowledge translation to facilitate deprescribing of medicines that are no longer providing benefit or are causing harm. ADeN aims to promote research, awareness, practice and policy for the safe and appropriate use of medicines for all Australians.
Visit their website to:
Follow us on X (formerly Twitter) @DeprescribeAU
Council on the Ageing (COTA)
COTA Australia is the leading advocacy organisation for older people.
Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA)
The Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) is a national multisectoral integrated data platform designed to monitor and evaluate the health, service use, social welfare, medication use, mortality, and other outcomes of >3.5 million people who received or are receiving aged care services nationally.
Help spread the message! Click the thumbnails below to download the images or posters for your own use. Make sure to tag SHPA and use the hashtag #MedsAware in your post!
If you would like to use the MedsAware logo or brand elements in your own designs, please contact email@example.com for further information and files.
Social media images
Other resources and publications
The following websites are referenced on the Geriatric Medicine Specialty Practice Group page under Resources à Deprescribing.
- Primary Health Tasmania, A guide to deprescribing fact sheet, principles and medicines-specific information.
- NSW Therapeutic Advisory Group Inc., Deprescribing Tools, guides and consumer information, developed by a translational research project team led by Professor Sarah Hilmer.
- Desprescribing.org, Canadian initiative hosting deprescribing guideline resources and related research, co-led by Drs Lisa McCarthy, Wade Thompson and Barbara Farrell.
- Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline for Deprescribing Opioid Analgesics (University of Sydney) ->
- RACGP aged care clinical guide (Silver Book) Part A: Deprescribing ->
Manski-Nankervis J., et. al, Prescribing and deprescribing in chronic kidney disease, AJGP Vol. 50, No. 4, April 2021.
Quek, H.W., et. al, Deprescribing considerations for older people in general practice, AJGP, Vol. 52, No. 4, April 2023.
Vasilevskis E.E., et. al., Deprescribing medications among older adults from end of hospitalization through postacute care: A Shed-MEDS randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med 2023; 183: 223–31. Summarised in ‘Time to “shed some meds” among older people at hospital discharge and post-acute care’, Samantha Fraser, SHPA MedsScan Geriatric Medicine, Issue 2, 2023.
Woodward, M.C., Deprescribing: Achieving Better Health Outcomes for Older People through Reducing Medications, J Pharm Pract Res 2003; 33: 323–8. DOI ->