The most common cause of mortality due to malignant neoplasms in the general population around the world is lung cancer. In the last 10 years, there has been an enormous improvement in the treatment of this disease, mainly due to the immunotherapy that activates the immune system to fight cancer. Patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer are a special group of patients requiring not only cancer treatment but also considerable support in the treatment of cancer-related problems, as well as comorbidities. Early palliative care is important in this area. In addition, there is certain evidence that medicines most commonly administered in palliative care may lower the efficacy of immunotherapy. The present review article compares information on the prolonging of life after early hospice care, which has become the foundation of current standards of management in patients with metastatic lung cancer, and reports of decreased efficacy of the immunotherapy due to the administration of major palliative care medications.
Background: Delirium is highly problematic in palliative care (PC). Preliminary data indicate a potential role for melatonin to prevent delirium, but no randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are reported in PC.
Methods: Patients aged =18 years, with advanced cancer, admitted to an inpatient Palliative Care Unit (PCU), having a Palliative Performance Scale rating = 30%, and for whom consent was obtained, were included in the study. Patients with delirium on admission were excluded. The main study objectives were to assess the feasibility issues of conducting a double-blind RCT of exogenous melatonin to prevent delirium in PC: recruitment, retention, procedural acceptability, appropriateness of outcome measures, and preliminary efficacy and safety data. Study participants were randomized in a double-blind, parallel designed study to receive daily melatonin 3 mg or placebo orally at 21:00 over 28 days or less if incident delirium, death, discharge or withdrawal occurred earlier. Delirium was diagnosed using the Confusion Assessment Method. Efficacy endpoints in the melatonin and placebo groups were compared using time-to-event analysis: days from study entry to onset of incident delirium.
Results: Over 16 months, 60/616 (9.7%; 95% CI: 7.5–12.4%) screened subjects were enrolled. The respective melatonin (n = 30) vs placebo (n = 30) outcomes were: incident delirium in 11/30 (36.7%; 95%CI: 19.9–56.1%) vs 10/30 (33%; 95% CI: 17.3–52.8%); early discharge (6 vs 5); withdrawal (6 vs 3); death (0 vs 1); and 7 (23%) vs 11 (37%) reached the 28-day end point. The 25th percentile time-to-event were 9 and 18 days (log rank, 2 = 0.62, p = 0.43) in melatonin and placebo groups, respectively. No serious trial medication-related adverse effects occurred and the core study procedures were acceptable. Compared to those who remained delirium-free during their study participation, those who developed delirium (n = 21) had poorer functional (p = 0.036) and cognitive performance (p = 0.013), and in particular, poorer attentional capacity (p = 0.003) at study entry.
Conclusions: A larger double-blind RCT is feasible, but both subject accrual and withdrawal rates signal a need for multisite collaboration. The apparent trend for shorter time to incident delirium in the melatonin group bodes for careful monitoring in a larger trial.
This research paper revolves around the process of the quantification of bupivacaine in human plasma through the selection of a sensitive high performance liquid chromatography method. The extraction of bupivacaine and ropivacaïne as an internal standard from plasma was performed through the use of hexane along with iso-propylalcohol. After liquid-liquid extraction we moved straightforward to the process of the mobile phase in which we had a combination of acetonitrile and potassium dihydrogen phosphate (65:35, v/v). The separation was carried out on a reversed phase C18 column with UV-detector at 210 nm for bupivacaine and 230nm for the internal standard. This particular examination exhibited excellent linearity (r2=0.999) in peak response over the concentration range of 0.1–1.5µg/mL bupivacaine in human plasma. The mean absolute recoveries for 0.5 and 1.5µg/mL of bupivacaine in plasma using the present extraction procedure were 97.43% and 95.03%, respectively. The intra- and inter-day coefficients of variation in the plasma were less than 12% at the lowest, and less than 10% at other concentrations, and the percent error values were less than 6%. The method displayed a high caliber of sensitivity and selectivity for therapeutic monitoring concentrations of bupivacaine in human plasma.
Nalbuphine (Nubain) is a unique opioid analgesic that was first manufactured in the 1970s. It is not a controlled substance in the United States as it was removed from the shedule II drug list in 1976 in response to assuring safety data. Considering ongooing opioid shortages in the acute settings, it is prudent to re-examine malbuphine as an analgesic for serious ill patients.
BACKGROUND: Patient access to medicines at home during the last year of life is critical for symptom control, but is thought to be problematic. Little is known about healthcare professionals' practices in supporting timely medicines access and what influences their effectiveness. The purpose of the study was to evaluate health professionals' medicines access practices, perceived effectiveness and influencing factors.
METHODS: On-line questionnaire survey of health care professionals (General Practitioners, Community Pharmacists, community-based Clinical Nurse Specialists and Community Nurses) delivering end-of-life care in primary and community care settings in England. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics.
RESULTS: One thousand three hundred twenty-seven responses were received. All health professional groups are engaged in supporting access to prescriptions, using a number of different methods. GPs remain a predominant route for patients to access new prescriptions in working hours. However, nurses and, increasingly, primary care-based pharmacists are also actively contributing. However, only 42% (160) of Clinical Nurse Specialists and 27% (27) of Community Nurses were trained as prescribers. The majority (58% 142) of prescribing nurses and pharmacists did not have access to an electronic prescribing system. Satisfaction with access to shared patient records to facilitate medicines access was low: 39% (507) were either Not At All or only Slightly satisfied. Out-of-hours specialist cover was reported by less than half (49%; 656) and many General Practitioners and pharmacists lacked confidence advising about out-of-hours services. Respondents perceived there would be a significant improvement in pain control if access to medicines was greater. Those with shared records access reported significantly lower pain estimates for their caseload patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Action is required to support a greater number of nurses and pharmacists to prescribe end-of-life medicines. Solutions are also required to enable shared access to patient records across health professional groups. Coverage and awareness of out-of-hours services to access medicines needs to be improved.
OBJECTIVE: To clarify the safety and effectiveness of antipsychotic medication for delirium in patients with advanced cancer receiving palliative care.
METHODS: This was a prospective observational study involving consecutive patients with advanced cancer and delirium receiving antipsychotics in inpatient hospices or psycho-oncology settings. Adjusted mean scores of the Delirium Rating Scale Revised-98 (DRS; range: 0-39) were calculated at baseline and Day 3 using generalized estimating equations. Adverse events over 7 days were evaluated.
RESULTS: Data from 756 patients were analyzed (Mage = 72 ± 11 years, 62% male, 48% bedridden). The adjusted mean DRS score significantly decreased after antipsychotics administration (21.5 [95% confidence interval 19.5 to 23.4] to 20.8 [18.9 to 22.8], p = 0.03, effect size [ES] = 0.02). Significant improvement was associated with age of 75 or older (ES = 0.07), better performance status (0.32), longer estimated prognosis (0.25), psycho-oncological consultation settings (0.20), hyperactive (0.14) or mix-motor subtypes (0.24) of delirium, and quetiapine administration (0.19); significant deterioration was observed in patients with "days" prognosis (0.18). Extrapyramidal symptoms (9.8%) and somnolence (8.5%) were the most prevalent adverse events.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of antipsychotics as part of comprehensive delirium management was safe and may provide some symptomatic benefits for patients with terminal illness and delirium. Along with adequate non-pharmacological interventions, judicious use of antipsychotics is still recommended.
CONTEXT: Hospital readmissions, frequent medication changes, and polypharmacy are common issues for hospice patients. It is important to consider if close monitoring of medications by pharmacists could help these patients avoid hospital readmissions.
OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to determine the incidence and types of medication-related problems that contributed to hospital readmissions from hospice settings.
METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted from October 1, 2018 to January 31, 2020. Patients admitted from hospice settings (i.e. Home, ALF, LTCF) and who were seen by the palliative care teams at 9 Maryland and Washington DC MedStar hospitals were included. Demographic information was collected: age, gender, race, primary hospice diagnosis, prognosis determined by provider prior to hospice disposition, reason for readmission, and medication list at readmission. The primary outcomes were the incidence and types of medication-related problems. Secondary outcomes included patient characteristics associated with readmission, and classes/number of medications changed before readmission. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data.
RESULTS: Seventy-five hospice patients were readmitted and seen by palliative care during the study period. Forty-three patients (57%) were found to have medication-related problems at readmission. The most common problem identified was needing additional drug therapy. Dose too low, dose too high, incorrect drugs, adverse drug reactions, and non-adherence were also identified. Additional reasons for readmission were: unanticipated new medical issue (n = 46, 61%) and uncontrolled symptoms (n = 34, 34%).
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that deprescribing practices possibly contributeto readmissions from hospice settings.
BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial use during end-of-life care of older adults with advanced cancer is prevalent. Factors influencing the decision to prescribe antimicrobials during end-of-life care are not well defined.
AIM: To evaluate factors influencing medicine subspecialists to prescribe intravenous and oral antimicrobials during end-of-life care of older adults with advanced cancer to guide an educational intervention.
DESIGN: 18-item single-center cross-sectional survey.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Inpatient medicine subspecialists in 2018.
RESULTS: Of 186 subspecialists surveyed, 67 (36%) responded. Most considered withholding antimicrobials at the time of clinical deterioration during hospitalization (n = 54/67, 81%), viewed the initiation of additional intravenous antimicrobials as escalation of care (n = 44/67, 66%), and believed decision-making should involve patients or surrogates and providers (n = 64/67, 96%). Fifty-one percent (n = 30/59) of respondents who conducted advance care planning did not discuss antimicrobials. Barriers to discussing end-of-life antimicrobials included the potential to overwhelm patients or families, challenges of withdrawing antimicrobials, and insufficient training.
CONCLUSIONS: Although the initiation of additional intravenous antimicrobials was viewed as escalation of care, antimicrobials were not routinely discussed during advance care planning. Educational interventions that promote recognition of antimicrobial-associated adverse events, incorporate antimicrobial use into advance care plans, and offer communication simulation training around the role of antimicrobials during end-of-life care are warranted.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic represents a significant healthcare challenge for the world. Many drugs have therapeutic potential. The aminoquinolones, hydroxychloroquine, and chloroquine are undergoing evaluation as a potential therapy against COVID -19. In vitro and in vivo studies suggest that these drugs affect viral adherence and modify inflammatory responses, which may provide some impact on the symptoms associated with COVID. As palliative care specialists encounter more COVID positive patients, palliative care specialists need to know how these drugs work, and importantly how they interact with palliative care drugs used for symptom control. At the same time, there is a need to reduce polypharmacy in any seriously ill patient population. The goals of this paper are to identify whether or not hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine improves symptoms in palliative care patients and whether or not these drugs are safe to use in the advanced illness population who have COVID.
OBJECTIVES: For parents, family or clinicians of children with rare, life-threatening conditions there is little information regarding likely symptoms, illness trajectory and end-of-life care. This descriptive analysis of a bereaved cohort recruited in the Charting the Territory (CTT) study describes patient characteristics, symptoms, use of medications, discussion of resuscitation orders and care provided preceding and during the end-of-life.
METHODS: Of the 275 children enrolled in the CTT study, 54 died between 2009 and 2014. Baseline demographic information, symptoms, interventions and medical information were collected via chart review, interviews and surveys.
RESULTS: 51 of the 54 children had complete medical records. Of the seven symptoms evaluated, children were found to have an increase in median symptoms from baseline (n=2) to time of death (n=3). Opioids were used in the last 48 hours of life in 29 (56.9%) children, whereas only eight (15.7%) were receiving opioids at baseline. Do Not Attempt Resuscitation orders were in place at baseline in 17 (33.3%) children, increasing to 33 (64.7%) at time of death. Death occurred in a hospice setting in 16 (31.4%) children.
CONCLUSIONS: While much emphasis on pediatric palliative care has been on supportive treatment and symptom management, when faced with a lack of sound understanding of a rare illness, the mode of care can often be reactive and based on critical needs. By developing greater knowledge of symptoms and illness trajectory, both management and care can be more responsive and anticipatory, thereby helping ease illness burden and suffering.
CONTEXT: Certain treatments are potentially inappropriate when administered to nursing homes residents at the end of life and should be carefully considered. An international comparison of potentially inappropriate treatments allows insight into common issues and country-specific challenges of end-of-life care in nursing homes and helps direct health care policy in this area.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate the prevalence of potentially inappropriate treatments in the last week of life in nursing home residents, and analyze the differences in prevalence between countries.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study of deceased residents in nursing homes (2015) in six European countries: Belgium (Flanders), England, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. Potentially inappropriate treatments included: enteral administration of nutrition, parental administration of nutrition, artificial fluids, resuscitation, artificial ventilation, blood transfusion, chemotherapy/radiotherapy, dialysis, surgery, antibiotics, statins, antidiabetics, new oral anticoagulants. Nurses were questioned about whether these treatments were administered in the last week of life.
RESULTS: We included 1,384 deceased residents from 322 nursing homes. In most countries, potentially inappropriate treatments were rarely used, with a maximum of 18.3% of residents receiving at least one treatment in Poland. Exceptions were antibiotics in all countries (between 11.3% in Belgium and 45% in Poland), artificial nutrition and hydration in Poland (54.3%) and Italy (41%) and antidiabetics in Poland (19.7%).
CONCLUSION: Although the prevalence of potentially inappropriate treatments in the last week of life was generally low, antibiotics were frequently prescribed in all countries. In Poland and Italy, the prevalence of artificial administration of food/fluids in the last week of life was high, possibly reflecting country differences in legislation, care organization and culture, and the palliative care competences of staff.
Evidence to support the use of antipsychotic medications for the management of delirium symptoms remains limited. The primary objective of this study was to compare the effect of antipsychotic and non-antipsychotic treatments for delirium symptoms among palliative care inpatients. Secondary outcomes were use of midazolam and overall survival. This involved retrospective analysis of medical records (November 2018 to April 2019) for adult palliative care patients diagnosed with delirium at an Australian tertiary hospital. NuDESC was used to assess symptoms daily from baseline to Day 3. All 65 patients (mean age 73.5 ± 13.7 years, 48% female, 59% with cancer) included received standard care which included management of underlying causes of delirium symptoms, of which 17 received additional treatment using antipsychotic medications. Forty-eight did not receive any antipsychotic medication. An absolute reduction in NuDESC score was observed in the group that did not receive additional treatment using antipsychotics (by 1.37 units, 95% CI 0.79–1.95, p < 0.0001). A significantly higher proportion of midazolam use (n = 9, 53% versus n = 2, 4%, p < 0.001) and shorter median survival (13 days versus 26 days, p = 0.03) was observed in the group of patients that received antipsychotics. The use of antipsychotic medications in addition to standard treatments targeting underlying precipitants did not lead to a significant improvement in delirium symptoms and was associated with a greater midazolam use and lower median duration of survival. Individualized treatment of underlying causes still appears to be essential in the management of delirium in patients receiving palliative care.
Objectives: The objectives of this study are to investigate how many advanced cancer patients became unconscious or non-communicative after pharmacological treatment for delirium, and to explore whether existing delirium assessment tools can successfully evaluate its severity at the end of life.
Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a registry study that examined the efficacy and safety of antipsychotics for advanced cancer patients with delirium. A total of 818 patients were recruited from 39 specialized palliative care services in Japan. The severity of delirium was measured using the Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale-Palliative care version, the Delirium Rating Scale-Revised-98 (DRS-R-98), and the Nursing Delirium Screening Scale (Nu-DESC) on Day 3. Data from 302 patients with motor anxiety with an Agitation Distress Scale score =2 on Day 0 were analyzed for this study. The patients were categorized into four treatment response groups: complete response (CR: no agitation and fully communicative), partial response (PR: no/mild agitation and partially communicative), unconscious/non-communicative (UC), and no change (NC).
Results: On Day 3, 29 (10%; 95% confidence intervals (CI), 7-13) and 2 (1%; 95% CI, 0-2) patients became unconscious and non-communicative, respectively. Forty-four patients were categorized as CR, 97 as PR, 31 as UC, and 96 as NC. The scores of the DRS-R-98 and Nu-DESC in the UC group were rated higher than patients in the NC group were.
Conclusions: A considerable number of cancer patients with delirium became unconscious or non-communicative. Existing delirium assessment tools may be inappropriate for measuring the severity of delirium in end-of-life.
BACKGROUND: Refractory status epilepticus (RSE) represents a serious medical condition requiring early and targeted therapy. Given the increasing number of elderly or multimorbid patients with a limitation of life-sustaining therapy (LOT) or within a palliative care setting (PCS), guidelines-oriented therapy escalation options for RSE have to be omitted frequently.
OBJECTIVES: This systematic review sought to summarize the evidence for fourth-line antiseizure drugs (ASDs) and other minimally or non-invasive therapeutic options beyond guideline recommendations in patients with RSE to elaborate on possible treatment options for patients undergoing LOT or in a PCS.
METHODS: A systematic review of the literature in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, focusing on fourth-line ASDs or other minimally or non-invasive therapeutic options was performed in February and June 2020 using the MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane databases. The search terminology was constructed using the name of the specific ASD or therapy option and the term 'status epilepticus' with the use of Boolean operators, e.g. "(brivaracetam) AND (status epilepticus)". The respective Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and Emtree terms were used, if available.
RESULTS: There is currently no level 1, grade A evidence for the use of ASDs in RSE. The best evidence was found for the use of lacosamide and topiramate (level 3, grade C), followed by brivaracetam, perampanel (each level 4, grade D) and stiripentol, oxcarbazepine and zonisamide (each level 5, grade D). Regarding non-medicinal options, there is little evidence for the use of the ketogenic diet (level 4, grade D) and magnesium sulfate (level 5, grade D) in RSE. The broad use of immunomodulatory or immunosuppressive treatment options in the absence of a presumed autoimmune etiology cannot be recommended; however, if an autoimmune etiology is assumed, steroid pulse, intravenous immunoglobulins and plasma exchange/plasmapheresis should be considered (level 4, grade D). Even if several studies suggested that the use of neurosteroids (level 5, grade D) is beneficial in RSE, the current data situation indicates that there is formal evidence against it.
CONCLUSIONS: RSE in patients undergoing LOT or in a PCS represents a challenge for modern clinicians and epileptologists. The evidence for the use of ASDs in RSE beyond that in current guidelines is low, but several effective and well-tolerated options are available that should be considered in this patient population. More so than in any other population, advance care planning, advance directives, and medical ethical aspects have to be considered carefully before and during therapy.
OBJECTIVES: The issue of polypharmacy and medication use in people with life limiting illness raises important questions from a clinical and ethical viewpoint. The objectives of our study were to (1) explore medication use among people with life limiting illness receiving hospice care; (2) apply consensus criteria to assess medication appropriateness; and (3) determine the overall pill burden in this patient population.
METHODS: Six hospices in the North East of England were included. All deceased adult patients who received hospice care in 2018 were eligible for study inclusion. Descriptive statistics were used to report medication details; while medication appropriateness was assessed according to consensus criteria developed by Morin and colleagues.
RESULTS: Six hundred and ninety patients were included in the study. Patients were using a mean number of 8.8 medications per day, while polypharmacy was evident in 80% of patients. In terms of potentially questionable medication, patients were prescribed a mean number of 1.3 per day. Common potentially questionable medications included vitamin and mineral supplements, antihypertensives, antiplatelets, lipid regulating agents and anticoagulants. The pill burden in this population was also high with, on average, people using 13.7 oral doses per day.
CONCLUSIONS: Polypharmacy is common in patients accessing hospice care, as is the use of potentially questionable medication. The pill burden in this patient population is also high, which may be an additional treatment burden to patients. Holistic deprescribing approaches for this population should be developed and implemented.
BACKGROUND: Infections are common in terminally ill patients (pts), and although antibiotics are frequently prescribed, their benefit for symptom relief is not clear. Antimicrobials at the end of life (EOL) may increase the risk of antimicrobial resistance and Clostrioides difficile infection. Our aim was to determine the frequency of symptom occurrence at the EOL when comparing pts who did or did not receive antibiotics (AB+ or AB-).
METHODS: We reviewed electronic medical records of pts admitted to a palliative care unit of a quarternary care hospital between 01/09/2017 and 07/16/2017 and assessed antimicrobial use in the last 14 days of life. Differences in demographics and symptom control between AB+ and AB- pts were analyzed using chi-square analyses; p-values were computed using Mann-Whitney tests.
RESULTS: Of a total of 133 pts included, 90 (68%) received antimicrobials (AB+). The indication for antibiotics was documented in only 12% of pts. The AB+ and AB- groups were similar with respect to demographics, including sex, and Charleston Comorbidity Index except for age (p = 0.01) and race (p = 0.03). Documented infections were similar between AB+ and AB- groups, except urinary tract infections. No statistically significant differences were noted in documented symptoms including pain, dyspnea, fever, lethargy, and alteration of mental state or length of stay.
CONCLUSION: Our study did not show differences in frequencies of documented symptoms with use of antimicrobials at EOL. Antimicrobial stewardship programs and further research can help with developing EOL care antimicrobial guidelines supporting patients and providers through shared decision-making.
PURPOSE: To review and summarize the most frequent medications and dosages used during withholding and withdrawal of life-prolonging measures in critically ill patients in the intensive care unit.
METHODS: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Virtual Health Library from inception through March 2019. We considered any study evaluating pharmaceutical interventions for pain management during the withholding or withdrawing of life support in adult critically ill patients at the end-of-life. Two independent investigators performed the screening and data extraction. We pooled data on utilization rate of analgesic and sedative drugs and summarized the dosing between the moment prior to withholding or withdrawal of life support and the moment before death.
RESULTS: Thirteen studies met inclusion criteria. Studies were conducted in the United States (38%), Canada (31%), and the Netherlands (31%). Eleven studies were single-cohort and twelve had a Newcastle-Ottawa Scale score of less than 7. The mean age of the patients ranged from 59 to 71 years, 59-100% were mechanically ventilated, and 47-100% of the patients underwent life support withdrawal. The most commonly used opioid and sedative were morphine [utilization rate 60% (95% CI 48-71%)] and midazolam [utilization rate 28% (95% CI 23-32%)], respectively. Doses increased during the end-of-life process (pooled mean increase in the dose of morphine: 2.6 mg/h, 95% CI 1.2-4).
CONCLUSIONS: Pain control is centered on opioids and adjunctive benzodiazepines, with dosages exceeding those recommended by guidelines. Despite consistency among guidelines, there is significant heterogeneity among practices in end-of-life care.
OBJECTIVES: A vital component of the coronavirus response is care of the dying COVID-19 patient. We document the demographics, symptoms experienced, medications required, effectiveness observed, and challenges to high-quality holistic palliative care in 31 patients. This will aid colleagues in primary and secondary care settings anticipate common symptoms and formulate management plans.
METHODS: A retrospective survey was conducted of patients referred to the hospital palliative care service in a tertiary hospital, south east of England between March 21 and April 26, 2020. Patients included had a confirmed laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 via reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction nasopharyngeal swab for SARS-Cov-2 or radiological evidence of COVID-19.
RESULTS: The thirty-one patients included were predominantly male (77%), elderly (median [interquartile range]: 84 [76-89]), and had multiple (4 [3-5]) comorbidities. Referral was made in the last 2 [1-3] days of life. Common symptoms were breathlessness (84%) and delirium (77%). Fifty-eight percent of patients received at least 1 "as required" dose of an opioid or midazolam in the 24 hours before death. Sixty percent of patients needed a continuous subcutaneous infusion and the median morphine dose was 10 mg S/C per 24 hours and midazolam 10 mg S/C per 24 hours. Nineteen percent of our cohort had a loved one or relative present when dying.
CONCLUSION: We provide additional data to the internationally reported pool examining death arising from infection with SARS-CoV-19. The majority of patients had symptoms controlled with low doses of morphine and midazolam, and death was rapid. The impact of low visitation during dying needs exploring.
Patients frequently have comorbidities that when combined with their primary diagnosis qualifies the patient for hospice. Consequently, patients are at risk for polypharmacy due to the number of medications prescribed to treat both the underlying conditions and the related symptoms. Polypharmacy is associated with negative consequences, including increased risk for adverse drug events, drug-drug and drug-disease interactions, reduced functional status and falls, multiple geriatric syndromes, medication nonadherence, and increased mortality. Polypharmacy also increases the complexity of medication management for caregivers and contributes to the cost of prescription drugs for hospices and patients. Deprescribing or removing nonbeneficial or ineffective medications can reduce polypharmacy in hospice. We study medication possession ratios and rates of deprescribing of commonly prescribed but potentially nonbeneficial classes of medication using a large hospice pharmacy database. Prevalence of some classes of potentially inappropriate medications is high. We report possession ratios for 10 frequently prescribed classes, and, because death and prescription termination are competing events, we calculate prescription termination rates using Cumulative Incidence Functions. Median duration of antifungal and antiviral medications is brief (5 and 7 days, respectively), while statins and diabetes medications have slow discontinuance rates (median termination durations of 93 and 197 days). Almost all patients with a proton pump inhibitor prescription have the drug for their entire hospice stay. Data from this study identify those drug classes that are commonly deprescribed slowly, suggesting drug classes and diagnoses that hospices may wish to focus on more closely, as they act to limit polypharmacy and reduce prescription costs.