Polypharmacy is defined as increase in the number of medications or the use of more medications than are medically necessary. Polypharmacy is common in older ambulatory care, hospital, and nursing home patients. Polypharmacy increases the risk of numerous negative health consequences in the elderly.
What is considered polypharmacy?
Polypharmacy, defined as regular use of at least five medications, is common in older adults and younger at-risk populations and increases the risk of adverse medical outcomes. There are several risk factors that can lead to polypharmacy.
What is an example of polypharmacy?
An example of a polypharmacy definition which recognised the use of appropriate and inappropriate medications is “polypharmacy ranges from the use of a large number of medications, to the use of potentially inappropriate medications, medication underuse and duplication ” and “potentially inappropriate medications” 
Why does polypharmacy occur in the elderly?
Polypharmacy is an area of concern for elderly because of several reasons. Elderly people are at a greater risk for adverse drug reactions (ADRs) because of the metabolic changes and reduced drug clearance associated with ageing; this risk is furthermore exacerbated by increasing the number of drugs used.
What are the effects of polypharmacy in elderly?
Polypharmacy can worsen frailty, a term which refers to the collection of health problems an older adult may face. This includes delirium and cognitive impairment, falls and decreased functional ability. Drugs are a common risk factor for delirium.
How do you identify polypharmacy?
Polypharmacy is recognised by an assessment: on admission; at any time the resident’s condition changes; when a new medicine is ordered; or when the resident is taking nine or more medicines.
Why does polypharmacy happen?
Polypharmacy can be caused by a variety of factors including: Self-medicating without an accurate understanding of effects and reactions. Patients being prescribed multiple medications by health professionals who are not aware of other parties involved.
How do you address a polypharmacy in the elderly?
Polypharmacy, especially in the elderly, can be addressed through several strategies. Pharmacists need to identify drug-related problems, prioritize them, reduce pill burden, eliminate unnecessary medication usage, and monitor for adverse drug-withdrawal events.
Why is polypharmacy important?
Polypharmacy is a major and growing public health issue. Proactively addressing the problem has significant potential to maximise quality of life for patients, help patients to manage their own medicines, reduce adverse effects, and encourage more rational and efficacious drug use.
Where does polypharmacy occur?
Polypharmacy is most common in the elderly, affecting about 40% of older adults living in their own homes. Polypharmacy often occurs because the patient may be under the care of multiple physicians without having a primary doctor who coordinates all their health care.
What are the risk factors in polypharmacy?
Frailty, multimorbidity, obesity, and decreased physical as well as mental health status are risk factors for excessive polypharmacy. Sex, educational level, and smoking apparently do not seem to be related to excessive polypharmacy.
What is polypharmacy and what is the importance of this in senior?
Polypharmacy is particularly important as people age and become frail. Seniors tend to have more health issues and have a decreased ability to process medications. Taking multiple medications at the same time can lead to increased side effects, drug interactions and adverse complications.
What is the effect of polypharmacy?
Patients and caregivers can look for common symptoms of adverse reactions and drug interactions resulting from polypharmacy. The common signs are a loss of appetite, diarrhea, tiredness or reduced alertness, confusion and hallucinations, falls, weakness and dizziness, skin rashes, depression, anxiety, and excitability.
What is the impact of polypharmacy?
Polypharmacy may be harmful in that it can increase the risk of drug interactions and adverse drug reactions, together with impairing medication adherence and quality of life for patients.
Why does polypharmacy increase risk?
Polypharmacy is linked to increased risk of adverse drug events in older people due to increased risk of drug interactions, lack of adherence to medication regimes, susceptibility of older people to side effects of medications, and physical changes related to ageing causing difficulties in taking medications as