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The role of pharmacists in deprescribing benzodiazepines: A scoping review

Lookup NU author(s): Fatemah Ashkanani, Dr Adam RathboneORCiD, Dr Laura LindseyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background: Polypharmacy can increase the risk of adverse drug events, hospitalisation, and unnecessary healthcare costs. Evidence indicates that discontinuing certain medications, such as benzodiazepines, can improve health outcomes, by resolving adverse drug effects. This scoping review aims to explore the pharmacists' role in deprescribing benzodiazepines. Method: A scoping review has been conducted to distinguish and map the literature, discover research gaps, and focus on targeted areas for future studies and research. A systematic search strategy was conducted to identify relevant studies from PubMed, Medline, and EMBASE databases. The eligibility criteria involved studies that focused on the role of pharmacists in benzodiazepine deprescribing, quantitative and qualitative studies conducted in humans, full-text articles published in English. Results: Twenty studies were identified, revealing three themes: 1) pharmacists' involvement in benzodiazepine deprescribing, 2) the impact of their involvement, and 3) obstacles impeding the process. Pharmacists involved in deprescribing procedures, mainly through completing medication reviews, collaborative work with other healthcare providers, and education. Pharmacists' involvement in benzodiazepine deprescribing intervention led to better health and economic outcomes. Withdrawal symptoms after medication discontinuation, dependence on medication, and lack of time and guidelines were identified in the literature as barriers to deprescribing. Conclusion: Pharmacists' involvement in deprescribing benzodiazepines is crucial for optimizing medication therapy. This scoping review examines the pharmacists' role in benzodiazepine deprescribing. The findings contribute to enhancing healthcare outcomes and guiding future research in this area.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ashkanani FZ, Rathbone AP, Lindsey L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Exploratory Research in Clinical and Social Pharmacy

Year: 2023

Volume: 12

Print publication date: 01/12/2023

Online publication date: 02/09/2023

Acceptance date: 31/08/2023

Date deposited: 18/09/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2667-2766

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.rcsop.2023.100328

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/nek2-9v20


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Funder referenceFunder name
Ministry of Health, Kuwait