BACKGROUND: Polypharmacy, the simultaneous use of multiple drugs, is associated with adverse drug reactions, medication errors, and increased risk of hospitalization. When the number of concurrently used drugs totals five or more (major polypharmacy), a significant risk may be present. AIM: To analyse the interpractice variation in the prevalence of major polypharmacy among listed patients, and to identify possible predictors of major polypharmacy related to the practice. METHOD: Prescription data were retrieved from the Odense Pharmacoepidemiological Database, and individuals subject to major polypharmacy were identified. The age- and sex-standardized prevalence rate of major polypharmacy was calculated for each practice in the County of Funen in Denmark (n = 173), using the distribution of age and sex of the background population as a reference. The practice characteristics were retrieved from the Regional Health Insurance System. Possible predictors of major polypharmacy related to the general practitioners (GPs) were analysed using backward stepwise linear multiple regression. RESULTS: A six-fold variation between the practices in the prevalence of major polypharmacy was found (16 to 96 per 1000 listed patients; median = 42). Predictors related to the practice structure, workload, clinical work profile, and prescribing profile could explain 56% of the variation. CONCLUSION: A substantial part of the variation in major polypharmacy between practices can be explained by predictors related to practice.
Excessive and inappropriate use of medications, or ‘polypharmacy’, has been recognized as a public health problem. In addition, there is growing use of dietary supplements in the United States; however, little is known about the patterns of supplement use. Recent reports in the literature of cases of excessive or inappropriate use of herbal dietary supplements leading to the term ‘polyherbacy’. The clinical vignettes described in this article highlight the need for further research on the nature and extent of multiple and inappropriate dietary supplement use or ‘dietary supplement polypharmacy’. Clinical interviewing and population surveys both address this issue in complementary ways, and provide a further understanding of dietary supplement use patterns.
complementary and alternative medicine; dietary supplements; drug interactions; herbals; polypharmacy
One of the hallmarks of modern medicine is the improving management of chronic health conditions. Long-term control of chronic disease entails increasing utilization of multiple medications and resultant polypharmacy. The goal of this study is to improve our understanding of the impact of polypharmacy on outcomes in trauma patients 45 years and older.
Materials and Methods:
Patients of age ≥45 years were identified from a Level I trauma center institutional registry. Detailed review of patient records included the following variables: Home medications, comorbid conditions, injury severity score (ISS), Glasgow coma scale (GCS), morbidity, mortality, hospital length of stay (LOS), intensive care unit (ICU) LOS, functional outcome measures (FOM), and discharge destination. Polypharmacy was defined by the number of medications: 0–4 (minor), 5–9 (major), or ≥10 (severe). Age- and ISS-adjusted analysis of variance and multivariate analyses were performed for these groups. Comorbidity–polypharmacy score (CPS) was defined as the number of pre-admission medications plus comorbidities. Statistical significance was set at alpha = 0.05.
A total of 323 patients were examined (mean age 62.3 years, 56.1% males, median ISS 9). Study patients were using an average of 4.74 pre-injury medications, with the number of medications per patient increasing from 3.39 for the 45–54 years age group to 5.68 for the 75+ year age group. Age- and ISS-adjusted mortality was similar in the three polypharmacy groups. In multivariate analysis only age and ISS were independently predictive of mortality. Increasing polypharmacy was associated with more comorbidities, lower arrival GCS, more complications, and lower FOM scores for self-feeding and expression-communication. In addition, hospital and ICU LOS were longer for patients with severe polypharmacy. Multivariate analysis shows age, female gender, total number of injuries, number of complications, and CPS are independently associated with discharge to a facility (all, P < 0.02).
Over 40% of trauma patients 45 years and older were receiving 5 or more medications at the time of their injury. Although these patients do not appear to have higher mortality, they are at increased risk for complications, lower functional outcomes, and longer hospital and intensive care stays. CPS may be useful when quantifying the severity of associated comorbid conditions in the context of traumatic injury and warrants further investigation.
Comorbid conditions; outcome prediction; polypharmacy; trauma outcomes
Polypharmacy with psychoactive drugs is an increasingly common and debatable contemporary practice in clinical psychiatry based more upon experience than evidence. The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and conditioners of polypharmacy in psychiatric patients.
A cross-sectional survey was carried out using the Canary Islands Health Service Clinical Records Database. A representative sample (n = 2,647) of patients with mental disorders receiving psychotropic medication was studied.
The mean number of psychoactive drugs prescribed was 1.63 ± 0.93 (range 1–7). The rate of polypharmacy was 41.9%, with 27.8% of patients receiving two drugs, 9.1% receiving three, 3.2% receiving four, and 1.8% of the patients receiving five or more psychotropic drugs. Multiple regression analysis shows that variables sex and diagnosis have a predictive value with regard to the number of psychotropic drug used, being men and schizophrenic patients the most predisposed. Benzodiazepines were the more prevalent drugs in monotherapy, while anticonvulsants and antipsychotics were the more used in combination with other treatment. A questionable very high degree of same-class polypharmacy was evidenced, while multi-class, adjunctive and augmentation polypharmacy seem to be more appropriate.
Almost half of the psychiatric patients are treated with several psychotropics. Polypharmacy is common and seems to be problematic, especially when same class of drugs are prescribed together. Some diagnoses, such as schizophrenia, are associated with an increase risk of Polypharmacy but there is a lack of evidence based indicators that allows for quality evaluation on this practice.
polypharmacy; psychotropic drugs; psychiatric patients; monotherapy.
This paper reviews the adverse outcomes associated with polypharmacy and presents polypharmacy definitions offered by the geriatrics literature, examining the strengths and weaknesses of the various definitions, as well as exploring the relationships among these definitions and what is known about the prevalence and impact of polypharmacy in the geriatric-oncology population.
After completing this course, the reader will be able to:
Differentiate the multiple definitions of polypharmacy in order to be able to recognize it in your patient population.Discuss the current data available in evaluating polypharmacy specifically in older adults with cancer and incorporate the data in your evaluation of older patients.Summarize the agents or drug classes that may be deemed inappropriate in older adults to avoid prescribing medications for older patients that may lead to adverse drug events.
This article is available for continuing medical education credit at CME.TheOncologist.com
The definition of “polypharmacy” ranges from the use of a large number of medications; the use of potentially inappropriate medications, which can increase the risk for adverse drug events; medication underuse despite instructions to the contrary; and medication duplication. Older adults are particularly at risk because they often present with several medical conditions requiring pharmacotherapy. Cancer-related therapy adds to this risk in older adults, but few studies have been conducted in this patient population. In this review, we outline the adverse outcomes associated with polypharmacy and present polypharmacy definitions offered by the geriatrics literature. We also examine the strengths and weaknesses of these definitions and explore the relationships among these definitions and what is known about the prevalence and impact of polypharmacy.
Polypharmacy; Cancer; Oncology; Geriatrics; Medications; Therapy
In the past, polypharmacy was referred to the mixing of many drugs in one prescription. Today polypharmacy implies to the prescription of too many medications for an individual patient, with an associated higher risk of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and interactions. Situations certainly exist where the combination therapy or polytherapy is the used for single disease condition. Polypharmacy is a problem of substantial importance, in terms of both direct medication costs and indirect medication costs resulting from drug-related morbidity. Polypharmacy increases the risk of side effects and interactions. Moreover it is a preventable problem. A retrospective study was carried out at Bhopal district (Capital of Madhya Pradesh, India) in the year of September-November 2009 by collecting prescriptions of consultants at various levels of health care. The tendency of polypharmacy was studied and analyzed under the various heads in the survey. Available data suggests that polypharmacy is a widespread problem, and physician, clinical pharmacists and patients are all responsible. These risks can be minimized through identifying the prevalence of this potential problem in a high-risk population and by increasing awareness among patients and healthcare professionals. Physicians and clinical pharmacists have the potential to combating this problem through a variety of interventions such as reducing the number of medications taken, reducing the number of doses taken, increasing patient adherence, preventing ADRs, improving patient quality of life and decreasing facility and drug costs.
Adverse drug reactions; clinical survey; inappropriate medication; polypharmacy; preventions
Multimorbidity is defined as suffering from coexistent chronic conditions. Multimorbid patients demand highly complex patient-centered care which often includes polypharmacy, taking an average of six different drugs per day. Adverse drug reactions, adverse drug events and medication errors are all potential consequences of polypharmacy. Our study aims to detect the status quo of the health care situation in Saxony’s general practices for multimorbid patients receiving multiple medications. We will identify the most common clinical profiles as well as documented adverse drug events and reactions that occur during the treatment of patients receiving multiple medications. We will focus on exploring the motives of general practitioners for the prescription of selected drugs in individual cases where there is evidence of potential drug-drug-interactions and potentially inappropriate medications in elderly patients. Furthermore, the study will explore general practitioners’ opinions on delegation of skills to other health professions to support medical care and monitoring of patients receiving multiple medications.
This is a retrospective cross sectional study using mixed methods. Socio-demographic data as well as diagnoses, medication regimens and clinically important events will be analyzed retrospectively using general practitioners documentation in patients’ records. Based on these data, short vignettes will be generated and discussed by general practitioners in qualitative telephone interviews.
To be able to improve outpatient health care management for patients receiving multiple medications, the current status quo of care, risk factors for deficient treatment and characteristics of concerned patients must be investigated. Furthermore, it is necessary to understand the physicians’ decision making process regarding treatment.
Polypharmacy; Multimorbidity; General practitioner; Health services research
Currently, an estimated 38 million individuals 65 years or older live in the United States, and more than 11 million of these individuals are 80 years or older. Older people are at high risk of neuropathic pain because many diseases that cause neuropathic pain increase in incidence with age. Depending on their underlying health, older adults with neuropathic pain may have to cope with multiple coexisting diseases, polypharmacy, and impaired functional ability. The objective of this article is to review how aging and frailty affect the treatment of older adults with neuropathic pain. Specific topics reviewed include the complexity of treatment decisions in older patients due to aged heterogeneity, multimorbidity, and polypharmacy; selection of treatment in an effort to maximize patients' functional abilities in addition to relieving their pain; more careful dosing (usually lower) and monitoring of pharmacotherapy relative to younger patients due to age-related changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; and underrepresentation of older adults in clinical trials of neuropathic pain treatments, which further compromises physicians' ability to make informed treatment decisions.
Pharmacotherapy represents one of the most important ways in which the practice of geriatric medicine differs from conventional medical care. The older patients is a major consumer of prescription and nonprescription medications, and proper use of these agents can lead to more cost-effective strategies in reaching optimal health. A key difference in distinguishing appropriate from inappropriate drug use is evident in the themes of polymedicine and polypharmacy. Polymedicine describes the use of medications for an older population for the treatment of multiple co-morbid conditions, while polypharmacy represents a less-than-desirable state with duplicative medications, drug-to-drug interactions, and inadequate attention to pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic principles. The purpose of this paper is to outline strategies toward optimal medication use as a key to successful aging. Specifically, we discuss themes of cost-effective prescribing, the role of medication compliance, overuse and underuse of medication, over-the-counter products, alcohol abuse, and preventive medicine. In addition, we discuss policy implications and responsibility for ensuring the high quality of pharmaceutical care. The reader should have a practical understanding of the pertinent issues in geriatric clinical pharmacology and its relationship to successful aging.
An increase in the use of drugs and polypharmacy have been displayed over time in spite of the fact that polypharmacy represents a well known risk factor as regards patients' health due to the adverse drug reactions, drug-drug interactions, and low adherence to drug therapy arising from polypharmacy. For policymakers, as well as for clinicians, it is important to follow the developing trends in drug use and polypharmacy over time. We wanted to study if the prevalence of polypharmacy in an entire national population has changed during a 4-year period.
By applying individual-based data on dispensed drugs, we have studied all dispensed prescribed drugs for the entire Swedish population during four 3-month periods 2005-2008. Five or more (DP ≥5) and ten or more (DP ≥10) dispensed drugs during the 3-month period was applied as the cut-offs indicating the existence of polypharmacy and excessive polypharmacy respectively.
During the period 2005-2008, the prevalence of polypharmacy (DP≥5) increased by 8.2% (from 0.102 to 0.111), and the prevalence of excessive polypharmacy (DP≥10) increased by 15.7% (from 0.021 to 0.024).
In terms of age groups, the prevalence of polypharmacy and excessive polypharmacy increased as regards all ages with the exception of the age group 0-9 years. However, the prevalence of excessive polypharmacy displayed a clear age trend, with the largest increase for the groups 70 years and above. Furthermore, the increase in the prevalence of polypharmacy was, generally, approximately twice as high for men as for women. Finally, the mean number of dispensed drugs per individual increased by 3.6% (from 3.3 to 3.4) during the study period.
The prevalence of polypharmacy and excessive polypharmacy, as well as the mean number of dispensed drugs per individual, increased year-by-year in Sweden 2005-2008.
Taking herbal-extracts to lose weight is an underestimated health hazard. Often, these products contain active agents that can cause acute liver damage. In this case report, a 22-year-old female patient, who presented with a feature of cholestatic syndrome, was so sure that the “natural products” were not dangerous that she did not inform her physicians that she had taken them, making their task that much more challenging. Clinical presentation mimicked acute cholecystitis and the patient underwent a cholecystectomy. Surgery was without any consequences and complications, although it did not completely cure the illness. She later admitted to having taken herbal remedies and this led to the correct diagnosis of phytotherapy-related hepatotoxicity and a successful therapeutic approach. The true incidence of phytotherapy-related hepatotoxicity and its pathogenic mechanisms are largely unknown. It is important to increase the awareness of both clinicians and patients about the potential dangers of herbal remedies.
Drug-induced liver injury; Obesity; Herbal remedies; Cholecystitis
Because of the rapid growth in elderly population, polypharmacy has become a serious public health issue worldwide. Although acute renal failure (ARF) is one negative consequence of polypharmacy, the association between the duration of polypharmacy and ARF remains unclear. We therefore assessed this association using a population-based database.
Data were collected from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) from 2003 through 2006. The case group included patients hospitalized for ARF during 2006, but not admitted due to trauma, surgery, burn trauma, car accident, transplantation, or infectious diseases; the control group included patients hospitalized without ARF. The cumulative number of days of polypharmacy (defined as more than 5 prescriptions per day) for 1 year prior to admission was determined, with patients further subdivided into 4 categories: less than 30 days, 31–90 days, 91–180 days, and over 181 days. The dependent variable was ARF, and the control variables were age, gender, comorbidities in patients hospitalized for ARF, stay in ICUs during ARF hospitalization and site of operation for prior admissions within one month of ARF hospitalization.
Of 20,790 patients who were admitted to hospitals for ARF in 2006, 12,314 (59.23 %) were male and more than 60 % were older than 65 years. Of patients with and without ARF, 16.14 % and 10.61 %, respectively, received polypharmacy for 91–180 days and 50.22 % and 24.12 %, respectively, for over 181 days. A statistical model indicated that, relative to patients who received polypharmacy for less than 30 days, those who received polypharmacy for 31–90, 91–180 and over 181 days had odds ratios of developing ARF of 1.33 (p<0.001), 1.65 (p<0.001) and 1.74 (p<0.001), respectively.
We observed statistically significant associations between the duration of polypharmacy and the occurrence of ARF.
Background: Antipsychotic polypharmacy remains a widespread and persistent practice, despite a lack of empirical evidence to support its safety and efficacy. This study aimed to assess antipsychotic treatment prior to the initiation of polypharmacy and ascertained clinicians’ reasons for coprescribing long term. We also aimed to determine patterns of antipsychotic coprescription and associated outcome.
Method: Prescription charts across a large mental health trust were reviewed to identify all patients coprescribed two or more antipsychotics excluding clozapine. For those receiving antipsychotic polypharmacy for at least 6 months, electronic patient records were examined to obtain demographic data, documented reasons for initiating polypharmacy and prior prescribing information. Sequence of prescribing, clinical outcome, adverse effects and prescriber considerations to revert to monotherapy were determined.
Results: In all, 38 patients had been receiving two antipsychotics excluding clozapine for longer than 6 months. In 39% of cases patients had been prescribed no or only one antipsychotic before initiation of polypharmacy while 48% had been trialled on clozapine. The most frequently documented reason for coprescribing was that residual psychotic symptoms remained with monotherapy. An improvement in psychotic symptoms was documented in 26% of patients receiving polypharmacy. Prescribers considered stopping polypharmacy in 23 patients.
Conclusion: Antipsychotics were coprescribed largely to improve symptoms and clinical outcome in patients with inadequate response to monotherapy. Polypharmacy was not solely reserved for patients in whom all other therapeutic options had failed. There was some evidence to suggest that patients did benefit from coprescription, albeit at the expense of an increased adverse effect burden. Prospective randomized trials of specific antipsychotic combinations are required to assess the therapeutic utility of this under-researched practice.
antipsychotics; polypharmacy; schizophrenia
Idiosyncratic drug hepatotoxicity represents a major problem in drug development due to inadequacy of current preclinical screening assays, but recently established rodent models utilizing bacterial LPS co-administration to induce an inflammatory background have successfully reproduced idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity signatures for certain drugs. However, the low-throughput nature of these models renders them problematic for employment as preclinical screening assays. Here, we present an analogous, but high-throughput, in vitro approach in which drugs are administered to a variety of cell types (primary human and rat hepatocytes and the human HepG2 cell line) across a landscape of inflammatory contexts containing LPS and cytokines TNF, IFNγ, IL-1α, and IL-6. Using this assay, we observed drug-cytokine hepatotoxicity synergies for multiple idiosyncratic hepatotoxicants (ranitidine, trovafloxacin, nefazodone, nimesulide, clarithromycin, and telithromycin) but not for their corresponding non-toxic control compounds (famotidine, levofloxacin, buspirone, and aspirin). A larger compendium of drug-cytokine mix hepatotoxicity data demonstrated that hepatotoxicity synergies were largely potentiated by TNF, IL-1α, and LPS within the context of multi-cytokine mixes. Then, we screened 90 drugs for cytokine synergy in human hepatocytes and found that a significantly larger fraction of the idiosyncratic hepatotoxicants (19%) synergized with a single cytokine mix than did the non-hepatotoxic drugs (3%). Finally, we used an information theoretic approach to ascertain especially informative subsets of cytokine treatments for most highly effective construction of regression models for drug- and cytokine mix-induced hepatotoxicities across these cell systems. Our results suggest that this drug-cytokine co-treatment approach could provide a useful preclinical tool for investigating inflammation-associated idiosyncratic drug hepatotoxicity.
drug-induced liver injury; adverse drug reactions; pre-clinical assays; information theory; partial least-squares modeling
The purpose of this paper is to review the possible role of polypharmacy in causing dry eye disease (DED), reflecting the complex interactions and complications associated with the use of multiple systemic and topical ocular medications. The pharmacological, physiological, anatomical, and histological mechanisms causing dry mouth differ little from those causing dry eye. Oral polypharmacy is the most common cause of dry mouth, but has not been investigated as a cause of dry eye. Topical ocular polypharmacy has been shown to cause DED. Information on drugs that likely cause or aggravate DED and the controversial role of preservatives in topical ocular medications are examined. Systemic or topical ocular medications and preservatives used in topical ocular drugs may cause dry eye through the drug's therapeutic action, ocular surface effects, or preservatives, and the effects probably are additive. Long-term use of topical ocular medications, especially those containing preservatives such as BAK, may play an important role in DED and the role of polypharmacy needs further study. We review possible ways to decrease the risk of medication-related dry eye.
Aim was to determine the predictive factors for polypharmacy among inpatient children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders.
Blinded, case-note review of children and adolescents with ICD 10 diagnosis of psychiatric disorders on psychotropic medication was conducted. Data on demography, illness, and treatment was analyzed with univariate and multivariate techniques.
Proscribing non-pharmacological interventions (OR = 4.7) and pro re nata medication (OR = 3.3), increased the risk of polypharmacy. Prescribing physical restraint reduced the risk of receiving multiple medications (OR = 0.3).
Proscribing non-pharmacological interventions, pro re nata medication and physical restraints increased polypharmacy.
The consequences of multimorbidity include polypharmacy and repeated referrals for specialised care, which may increase the risk of adverse drug events (ADEs).
The objective of this study was to analyse the influence of multimorbidity, polypharmacy, and multiple referrals on the frequency of ADEs, as an indicator of therapeutic safety, in the context of a national healthcare system.
Design and setting
This was a multicentre, retrospective, observational study of 79 089 adult patients treated during 2008 in primary care centres.
The explanatory patient variables sex, age, level of multimorbidity, polypharmacy, number of primary care physician visits, and number of different specialties attended were analysed. The response variable was the occurrence of ADEs. Logistic regression models were used to identify associations among the analysed variables.
The prevalence of individuals with at least one ADE was 0.88%. Multivariate analysis identified the following variables as risk factors for the occurrence of ADE in descending order of effect size: multimorbidity level (odds ratio [OR]Veryhigh/Low = 45.26; ORHigh/Low = 17.58; ORModerate/Low = 4.25), polypharmacy (OR = 1.34), female sex (OR = 1.31), number of different specialties (OR = 1.20), and number of primary care physician visits (OR = 1.01). Age, however, did not show statistical significance (OR = 1.00; 95% confidence interval = 0.996 to 1.005).
The results of this study demonstrate that multimorbidity is strongly related to the occurrence of ADEs, insofar as it requires the intervention of multiple specialties and the prescription of multiple medications. Further research should shed light on the causal pathway between multimorbidity and increased risk of adverse events.
adverse drug event; healthcare system, national; multimorbidity, multiple; polypharmacy; referral, hospital
Polypharmacy of respiratory medications is commonly observed in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aims of this study were to investigate determinants of polypharmacy and to study the consistency of actual respiratory drug use with current Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines in pulmonary rehabilitation candidates with COPD.
Data were extracted from the records of all patients with a diagnosis of COPD referred for pulmonary rehabilitation to CIRO+ between 2005 and 2009. Use of respiratory medications, self-reported COPD exacerbations, lung function, blood gases, exercise capacity, Medical Research Council (MRC) dyspnea grade, and St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) were recorded as part of assessment of health status.
In total, 1859 COPD patients of mean age (± standard deviation) 64.3 ± 9.7 years and with a forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) of 44.7% ± 18.2% were included. On average, patients used 3.5 ± 1.5 respiratory medications; this number increased with increasing GOLD stage, MRC score, and SGRQ scores. FEV1 (% predicted), SGRQ, and number of recent exacerbations were independent determinants of polypharmacy. Use of long-acting bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids was substantial and comparable in all GOLD stages. Use of corticosteroids was not restricted to patients with frequent exacerbations.
Polypharmacy of respiratory medications is common in COPD patients with persistent symptoms. In addition to severity of disease, health status is an independent predictor of polypharmacy. Actual drug use in COPD patients referred for pulmonary rehabilitation is partially inconsistent with current GOLD guidelines.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; management; pharmacotherapy; polypharmacy; pulmonary rehabilitation; respiratory drug use
The free choice of health care facilities without limitations on frequency of visits within the National Health Insurance in Taiwan gives rise to not only a high number of annual ambulatory visits per capita but also a unique “one-stop shopping”phenomenon, which refers to a patient' visits to several specialties of the same healthcare facility in one day. The visits to multiple physicians would increase the potential risk of polypharmacy. The aim of this study was to analyze the frequency and patterns of one-stop visits in Taiwan.
The claims datasets of 1 million nationally representative people within Taiwan's National Health Insurance in 2005 were used to calculate the number of patients with one-stop visits. The frequent itemsets mining was applied to compute the combination patterns of specialties in the one-stop visits. Among the total 13,682,469 ambulatory care visits in 2005, one-stop visits occurred 144,132 times and involved 296,822 visits (2.2% of all visits) by 66,294 (6.6%) persons. People tended to have this behavior with age and the percentage reached 27.5% (5,662 in 20,579) in the age group ≥80 years. In general, women were more likely to have one-stop visits than men (7.2% vs. 6.0%). Internal medicine plus ophthalmology was the most frequent combination with a visited frequency of 3,552 times (2.5%), followed by cardiology plus neurology with 3,183 times (2.2%). The most frequent three-specialty combination, cardiology plus neurology and gastroenterology, occurred only 111 times.
Without the novel computational technique, it would be hardly possible to analyze the extremely diverse combination patterns of specialties in one-stop visits. The results of the study could provide useful information either for the hospital manager to set up integrated services or for the policymaker to rebuild the health care system.
Severe depression is one of the most prevalent health problems of the elderly. Approximately 10% to 20% of the elderly population is affected. Unfortunately, major depression frequently presents in atypical forms among the elderly. Frequent presentations include masked depression, where multiple somatic complaints are prominent; pseudodementia, in which the depressed elderly person presents as a primary dementia; and delusional depression, in which paranoid delusions are prominent. Diagnosis is complicated by a multiplicity of other physical problems and polypharmacy for medical disorders. If adequately diagnosed, major depression can generally be treated successfully with antidepressants. Caution must be exercised in the use of antidepressants, as their sideeffects are in general more noxious in the elderly.
elderly; depression; antidepressants
Drug-related problems such as overuse of injectable drug products and antimicrobials, increased cost of drug therapy, polypharmacy, and adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are prevalent in the healthcare settings of Nepal. To date, no new drug development processes or clinical trials have been conducted in Nepal, despite the fact that studies of real life situations are an essential tool for monitoring medicine use. Pharmacoepidemiology (PE) is an important area that evaluates the effects of drug use in large populations.
Data obtained from pharmacoepidemiological studies may highlight ways to reduce certain drug-related problems and provide reliable information on the safety profile of a drug. Moreover, clinicians and regulatory authorities may also use the data to make drug therapy decisions, drug regulation and policy development. Therefore, there is a great need to conduct appropriate pharmacoepidemiological studies that involve multiple regions and in various groups of the population of Nepal, to collect unbiased and reliable information on drug use.
Clinical decisions; drug regulation; Nepal; pharmacoepidemiology
Older community dwelling adults often take multiple medications for numerous chronic diseases. Non-adherence to these medications can have a large public health impact. Therefore, the measurement and modeling of medication adherence in the setting of polypharmacy is an important area of research. We apply a variety of different modeling techniques (standard linear regression; weighted linear regression; adjusted linear regression; naïve logistic regression; beta-binomial (BB) regression; generalized estimating equations (GEE)) to binary medication adherence data from a study in a North Carolina based population of older adults, where each medication an individual was taking was classified as adherent or non-adherent. In addition, through simulation we compare these different methods based on Type I error rates, bias, power, empirical 95% coverage, and goodness of fit. We find that estimation and inference using GEE is robust to a wide variety of scenarios and we recommend using this in the setting of polypharmacy when adherence is dichotomously measured for multiple medications per person.
Beta-binomial; Correlated binomial data; Generalized estimating equations; Polypharmacy
As the baby-boomer generation enters the ranks of the elderly (defined as patients over 60 years of age), the increased burden of managing older inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients requires recognition of the impact of comorbid disease, polypharmacy, and surgical candidacy criteria. There is a surprisingly positive response to newer therapies and surgery, provided that a distinction is made between “fit elderly” and “frail elderly” patients. The former group should not be denied access to the newer biologics, clinical trials, or surgical alternatives on the basis of age alone. There is a need for clinicians caring for elderly IBD patients to be cognizant of the multiple and often disguised conditions contributing to disease management as well as the importance for careful allocation of health resources.
Inflammatory bowel disease; elderly; drug interactions
Heart failure is common in the elderly and is associated with a significant morbidity and mortality. It accounts for about 5% of adult medical admissions and the expenditure of 1% of the total National Health Service budget. Clinical presentation in old age may be with the classical symptoms of heart failure but often, due to multiple pathology and low functional ability, presentation is atypical. Both nonspecific symptoms and signs of heart failure, are often a delayed presentation in this population, make diagnosis difficult. Treatment of the failing heart in an older person is similar to the young however, diligence is required when prescribing due to age-related pharmacokinetic changes and co-existent morbidity. This may result in polypharmacy and an increase in drug interactions which themselves may have deleterious consequences. However, knowledge of the aetiology of heart failure in old age and the possible atypical presentation as well as available treatments, will result in better management and improved quality of life and reduced mortality in the elderly heart failure population.
Poor treatment response in patients with schizophrenia is an important clinical problem, and one possible strategy is concurrent treatment with more than one antipsychotic (polypharmacy). We analyzed the evidence base for this strategy using a translational research model focused on clozapine–antipsychotic polypharmacy (CAP). We considered 3 aspects of the existing knowledge base and translational research: the link between basic science and clinical studies of efficacy, the evidence for effectiveness in clinical research and the implications of research for the health care delivery system. Although a rationale for CAP can be developed from receptor pharmacology, there is little available preclinical research testing these concepts in animal models. Randomized clinical trials of CAP show minimal or no benefit for overall severity of symptoms. Most studies at the level of health services are limited to estimates of CAP prevalence and some suggestion of increased costs. Increasing use of antipsychotic polypharmacy in general may be a factor contributing to the under-utilization of clozapine and long delays in initiating clozapine monotherapy. Translational research models can be applied to clinical questions such as the value of CAP. Better linkage between the components of translational research may improve the appropriate use of medications such as clozapine in psychiatric practice.