Managing Polypharmacy in older adults

Article summary

Inappropriate polypharmacy and adhering to medication in older adults is a very significant health challenge to the public today. The burden is bound to increase with the increase in the aging population and many people suffering from multiple long term diseases. As a result, there are no evidence-based solutions, since healthcare delivery models and medical researches direct their focus towards intervening for disease separately leading to polypharmacy. Due to single disease intervention and limited solutions range, there is a need for healthcare resources to address polypharmacy this challenge as unhealthy and burdensome. According to the 2005-2006 polypharmacy survey, 36% of older adults aged between 75 and 85 were under prescriptions of at least five medications (Finkelstein et al., 2016). Moreover, polypharmacy is one of the causes of unplanned patient admission due to multiple medicinal harms. Consequently, managing polypharmacy could save extra medical costs and enhance health.  

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Effective and timely interventions can also reduce adverse chances of polypharmacy. Therefore, this requires a proper understanding of polypharmacy to manage it effectively (Finkelstein et al., 2016). For a physician, a pharmacist and any other health profession to help reduce polypharmacy, he or she must at least have general knowledge about polypharmacy. For example, they should be capable of carrying out pharmacokinetic testing and other related roles when it comes to managing polypharmacy, besides other basic things. As a result, it would reduce polypharmacy, reduce the adverse effects of the drugs, and improve disease outcome. 

An audience of the article

The article is written to the public. Anybody can access it from anywhere around the world. The article is for the global view since polypharmacy is a challenge affecting people all over the world and not a challenge to specific geographic locations. Though the article is for the global benefit, most of the statistics and examples are from the United States. Generally, it is a US-based article enlightening the world about the effect of polypharmacy on the health of older adults, and what people (especially health professionals) to prevent it. According to the article, the rise of the geriatric population in the US is one of the leading factors for the increase in polypharmacy (Finkelstein et al., 2016). From the statistics, it is evident that polypharmacy negatively affects the economy and general health of older adults to the people of the United States only.

Article’s information

The information is for general view though not everyone not can properly understand it. An individual in a high school can understand the information in the article though its generally for individuals who at least have been to college. Some of the vocabularies in the article include atorvastatin, fluticasone/salmeterol, diclofenac, esomeprazole, sitagliptin/metformin, losartan/hydrochlorothiazide, nortriptyline, montelukast, prednisone, oxybutynin, and tiotropium.

Interesting facts from the article

 The article had a lot of facts about polypharmacy. For example, from the statistics in the article, I learned that polypharmacy is harmful to health according to the number of admissions based on multiple medications. Moreover, it is also harmful to the economy (Finkelstein et al., 2016). For example, the admissions cost older adults extra medical bills besides the prescription of their long term illness. Therefore, the earlier the problem is fixed, the better. From the article, developing, evaluating and implementing effective tools that assist providers when it comes to the use and interpretation of pharmacokinetic tests should be the priority of the biomedical informatics researcher (Finkelstein et al., 2016). The article also highlighted what health professionals should do to reduce polypharmacy. For example, before pharmacists prescribe a drug to an older adult or any other person, they should screen the drug profile of the person, review potential drug-drug interactions, and assess comorbid effects.

Why I recommend the article

 I would recommend this article to other students as it is very informative. This article has enlightened me on polypharmacy. I can now sensitize older adults on ways to prevent polypharmacy. For example, I can confidently tell an older adult that before accepting drugs from a pharmacist, she should make that the pharmacist screen her drug profile, asses her comorbid effects and review her potential drug interaction as these could save her from polypharmacy (Finkelstein et al., 2016). I believe when another student reads the article and is enlightened about such measures, he or she might save an older adult in her family, a relative or even from the community. Such strategies could save many people from polypharmacy.

Impact of the article to me 

 The article is very informative, I am sure there are other articles with such content that might have more information or what the writer of the article I read might have missed out. As a result, I will look for more articles addressing this subject to increase my knowledge on the subject. Generally, the article has made me know more about polypharmacy. My motivation towards learning more about this subject is to gain knowledge and save people     from polypharmacy. Polypharmacy is a global challenge, and if I can help fight the problem, then I would be making the world a better place to live.


 From the above discussion, polypharmacy is a challenge affecting many people, especially older adults. The main cause of polypharmacy is multiple medications. The size of the population affected by polypharmacy is increasing because of the increased number of long term diseases and single intervention for the diseases. Polypharmacy is prevalent among older adults since they are the ones vulnerable to long term diseases. As per the current state of single disease intervention, health professionals should minimize drug prescription, limit number of medication changes and keep dosing schedule simple, besides screening patients’ drug, reviewing potential drug-drug interactions and assessing comorbid effects. Pharmacokinetic testing is also very crucial when it comes to polypharmacy management; therefore, solutions like developing online CME courses as well as training tools will equip health professionals with the knowledge on how to carry out the tests.

ReferencesFinkelstein, J., Friedman, C., Hripcsak, G., & Cabrera, M. (2016). The Potential utility of precision medicine for older adults with polypharmacy: a case series study. Pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine9, 31–45. doi:10.2147/PGPM.S101474

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