Polypharmacy in Seniors: Things to Remember
Polypharmacy is a widespread problem of modern clinical medicine, which occurs as a result of the excessive prescription of medicines by specialists. This phenomenon is more common in older people who simultaneously suffer from several diseases.
Polypharmacy is a common tactic for treating many pathologies. Therefore, in a hospital or outpatient therapy, the patient often receives 2 to 10 drugs at a time.
Important! The combined use of several drugs can increase the risk of adverse reactions and drug interactions, reduce patient adherence to therapy, and increase the cost of treatment.
Polypharmacy is often a necessary measure when an elderly patient has a history of multiple disorders. In such situations, the doctor seeks to simultaneously cure all existing diseases, to prevent the occurrence of complications.
According to statistics, polypragmasia has the following disadvantages:
It can increase the risk of adverse reactions by 6 times. If a person takes more than 3 drugs at the same time, then the probability of side effects increases 10 times;
Taking 2 medications simultaneously provokes drug interactions in 6% of patients. With the joint use of 5 drugs, this parameter reaches 50%, while taking 10 drugs – 100%;
It can increases mortality from side effects in the elderly (over 80 years).
In 80% of cases, doctors do not know what medicines patients take, as older people are often seen immediately by a specialist. A few specialists have a habit of prescribing their own treatment without taking into account the recommendations of other doctors.
Why does polypragmasia occur?
Most medicines are obtained synthetically from various chemical components. Manufacturers are closely monitoring the fact that drugs can eliminate the symptoms and causes of the disease, and do not have a detrimental effect on the human body.
However, the improper use of drugs can provoke unforeseen drug interactions. As a result, chemical reactions occur not only between the original ingredients of drugs but also their active metabolites. This causes the formation of highly allergic complexes that cause severe generalized bullous dermatitis, epidermal necrolysis.
Often polypragmasia occurs due to the wrong choice of drugs when the patient is prescribed unidirectional or optional medications. Also, people in old age often suffer from a condition known as pharmacomania where they develop a habit of consuming certain medicines, even if they are ineffective.
Medigap for older individuals: Seniors who’re 65 & above should check Medicare supplement plan G 2019 which allow them to cover expenditures such as deductible.