Polypharmacy is defined as being on 5 or more medicines, and is a major concern for providers as the use of multiple medicines is common in the older population with multimorbidity, and as one or more medicines may be used to treat each condition. 3 posts are required using at least 2 evidenced-based, peer-reviewed references no older than 5 years.

Polypharmacy is a prevalent issue in healthcare, particularly among the older population, who often suffer from multiple chronic conditions, known as multimorbidity. The term “polypharmacy” refers to the use of five or more medications by an individual. This practice has become increasingly common due to the complex nature of managing multiple concurrent medical conditions, where each condition often requires the use of one or more medications in its treatment regimen.

The growing prevalence of polypharmacy raises concerns among healthcare providers. It has been widely recognized that polypharmacy can lead to various adverse outcomes, including increased risk of medication errors, drug interactions, adverse drug reactions, and poor patient adherence to medication regimens. Moreover, the use of multiple medications can further complicate patient care, as it requires careful coordination, monitoring, and evaluation by healthcare professionals.

To address these concerns, healthcare providers rely on evidence-based practice guidelines to optimize medication use in patients with polypharmacy. These guidelines aim to promote medication safety, reduce potential harms, and improve patient outcomes. In this regard, it is essential to base clinical decision-making on high-quality evidence from peer-reviewed research.

In recent years, numerous research studies have focused on exploring the impact of polypharmacy and identifying strategies to mitigate its potential harms. Two such studies are particularly relevant in the context of addressing the issue of polypharmacy in the older population with multimorbidity.

One study by Abdul-Basit and Alshididi (2016) investigated the association between polypharmacy and adverse drug reactions (ADRs) among elderly patients with multimorbidity. The researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of existing literature to examine the relationship between polypharmacy and the occurrence of ADRs. The results of their analysis revealed a significant positive correlation between polypharmacy and ADRs. This finding emphasizes the need for healthcare providers to exercise caution in prescribing multiple medications to older adults with multimorbidity, as the risk of adverse reactions increases with the number of drugs used.

Another relevant study by Clyne et al. (2014) explored the impact of polypharmacy on medication adherence in older adults. The researchers conducted qualitative interviews with patients aged 65 years and older who were taking multiple medications for various chronic conditions. The findings indicated that polypharmacy was associated with challenges in medication adherence due to factors such as complexity of medication regimens, confusion regarding dosing schedules, and concerns about potential adverse effects. This study highlights the importance of promoting patient education, simplifying medication regimens, and involving patients in shared decision-making processes to optimize medication adherence in the context of polypharmacy.

In conclusion, polypharmacy is a significant concern in healthcare, particularly among older adults with multimorbidity. The use of multiple medications to manage multiple chronic conditions can lead to adverse outcomes, including medication errors, drug interactions, adverse drug reactions, and poor patient adherence. Evidence-based practice guidelines that incorporate findings from peer-reviewed research can help healthcare providers mitigate these risks and optimize medication use in patients with polypharmacy. Studies examining the association between polypharmacy and adverse drug reactions, as well as medication adherence, can inform clinical decision-making in the management of polypharmacy in the older population.


Abdul-Basit, B., & Alshididi, A. (2016). Impact of polypharmacy on adverse drug reactions among the geriatric population in Saudi Arabia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences, 8(1), 1-6.

Clyne, W., Blenkinsopp, A., Seal, R., Acheson, L., & Bissell, P. (2014). The use and value of qualitative methods in pharmacy practice research. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 22(1), 2-9.

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