96| Polypharmacy in Older Adults – A Conversation With Dr. Mike Steinman and Dr. Matthew Growdon

Today we discuss polypharmacy and deprescribing with two geriatricians.  We cover definitions of polypharmacy, inappropriate polypharmacy, deprescribing as an intervention, specific drug classes with potential for cognitive side effects in older adults, and a neuropsychologist’s role in clinical care related to polypharmacy.

A pdf of the transcript for this episode is available here.

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About Matthew

Matthew E. Growdon, MD, MPH is a geriatrician and T32 Postdoctoral Fellow in Aging Research in the Division of Geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), which he will join as an Assistant Professor in July 2022. Dr. Growdon’s research is focused on improving the quality and safety of prescribing for older adults, with an emphasis on those with cognitive impairment and social vulnerability. Dr. Growdon attended Harvard College, studying History and Literature, and received his medical school training at Harvard Medical School and his MPH with an emphasis on quantitative methods from Harvard School of Public Health. He completed residency in internal medicine and primary care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He subsequently completed a clinical geriatrics fellowship in the Harvard Medical School Multicampus Geriatric Medicine Fellowship, a chief residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Advanced Training in Clinical Research Certificate Program at UCSF. He is the recent recipient of a two-year NIH AHRQ Learning Health Systems K12 grant (July 2022-June 2024), through which he is leading projects aiming to improve opportunities for deprescribing potentially inappropriate medications for older adults receiving primary care at UCSF Health. Clinically, Dr. Growdon works as a consulting geriatrician at UCSF Medical Center, assisting various surgical services with the medical co-management of frail, older adults.

About Mike

Dr. Steinman received his medical school training at Harvard Medical School and completed residency in primary care internal medicine at UCSF. He then joined the UCSF Division of Geriatrics for fellowships in the VA National Quality Scholars Program and the UCSF Clinical Geriatrics Fellowship. Dr. Steinman has been a member of the faculty in the UCSF Division of Geriatrics and at the San Francisco VA Medical Center since 2004.

Dr. Steinman is a national leader in identifying and improving the quality of medication prescribing in clinically complex older adults. He devotes most of his time to research, while also maintaining an active clinical practice in the geriatrics clinic and inpatient general medicine service at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Dr. Steinman’s research program focuses on improving how medications are prescribed for older adults and is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and other funders. His research interests also include improving evaluation and care for older adults with multiple chronic conditions and he has a strong interest in mentorship and supporting career development for junior investigators.

Selected Resource

Canadian Deprescribing Network


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