Polypharmacy: the cure becomes the disease - CA Colley


image by: PoKUS: An Advocacy on Polypharmacy Knowledge, Understanding, and Safety

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The Hidden Drug Epidemic Among Older People

While news reports focus on an epidemic of opioid abuse among young adults, another totally legal and usually hidden drug epidemic is occurring at the other end of the age spectrum: the fistfuls of remedies — both prescription and over-the-counter — taken by older adults.

According to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, people aged 65 to 69 take an average of 15 prescriptions a year, and those aged 80 to 84 take 18 prescriptions a year. And that’s in addition to the myriad over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, vitamins and minerals they may take, any of which — alone or in combination — could cause more problems than they cure.

Among people over 65, 44 percent…

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 The Hidden Drug Epidemic Among Older People

Many of these supposed remedies are unnecessary or used incorrectly and can result in distressing and even dangerous side effects. For example, taking aspirin or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like ibuprofen could increase the risk of bleeding in patients on a prescribed anticoagulant like coumadin.

Canadian Deprescribing Network

The Canadian Deprescribing Network is dedicated to raising awareness of medication safety, deprescribing and safer alternatives to risky medications.


Optimizing medication use...


PoKUS is an advocacy movement by Student Nurses of RLE1A of 3NUR1 from UST College of Nursing. We aim to supply the necessary information to fill in knowledge gaps with regard to the dangers of polypharmacy.

US Deprescribing Research Network

The goal of the US Deprescribing Research Network (USDeN) is to develop and disseminate evidence about deprescribing for older adults, and in doing so to help improve medication use among older adults and the outcomes that are important to them.


Polypharmacy is defined as the use of multiple medications by a patient, with 5–10 medications usually accepted as the cutoff.

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