Category Archives: polypharmacy

Polypharmacy and the complexity of deprescribing medications – Dr Kinda Ibrahim

Dr KInda Ibrahim
Dr KInda Ibrahim, is a Senior Research Fellow based in the Faculty of Medicine at University Hospital Southampton

The concurrent use of 5 or more medications by one individual – is becoming increasingly a challenging phenomenon that demands attention at clinical policy and practice level. In the past decade, the average number of items prescribed for each person per year in England has increased by 53.8% from 11.9 to 18.3. It is 35-50% of community older people aged 65 years and above take 5 or more medications. The King’s fund ¹ published in November 2018 a report “Polypharmacy and medicines optimisation: Making it safe and sound” where they distinguished between the terms ‘appropriate’ and ‘problematic’ polypharmacy.

Appropriate polypharmacy: means prescribing for an individual for complex conditions or for multiple conditions in circumstances where medicines use has been optimised and the medicines are prescribed according to best evidence.
Polypharm cartoon

Problematic polypharmacy where multiple medications are prescribed inappropriately, or where the intended benefit of the medication is not realised.

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