Deprescribing literature has been increasing rapidly. Our aim was to develop and validate search filters to identify articles on deprescribing in Medline via PubMed and in Embase via .
Articles published from 2011 to 2020 in a core set of eight journals (covering fields of interest for deprescribing, such as geriatrics, pharmacology and primary care) formed a reference set. Each article was screened independently in duplicate and classified as relevant or non-relevant to deprescribing. Relevant terms were identified by term frequency analysis in a 70% subset of the reference set. Selected title and abstract terms, MeSH terms and Emtree terms were combined to develop two highly sensitive filters for Medline via Pubmed and Embase via . The filters were validated against the remaining 30% of the reference set. Sensitivity, specificity and precision were calculated with their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).
A total of 23,741 articles were aggregated in the reference set, and 224 were classified as relevant to deprescribing. A total of 34 terms and 4 MeSH terms were identified to develop the Medline search filter. A total of 27 terms and 6 Emtree terms were identified to develop the Embase search filter. The sensitivity was 92% (95% CI: 83-97%) in Medline via Pubmed and 91% (95% CI: 82-96%) in Embase via .
These are the first deprescribing search filters that have been developed objectively and validated. These filters can be used in search strategies for future deprescribing reviews. Further prospective studies are needed to assess their effectiveness and efficiency when used in systematic reviews.

© 2022. The Author(s).