Avula Baby Suguna, N.Jagathi Devi


Introduction: Polypharmacy is defined as taking more than five drugs per day, every day. Polypharmacy in elderly is becoming more common because of increased number of chronic diseases with which an elderly person suffers given the longer life expectancy in modern times. The major concern about polypharmacy in elderly is prescription cascade. Drug interaction and adverse drug reactions are misinterpreted and misdiagnosed as another health problem. This will lead to one more prescription.  Quality of life of an elderly person is compromised with polypharmacy though it prolongs life expectancy.

Method: Questionnaire based cross sectional study conducted on both urban and ruralpopulation. Institutional ethics committee permission has been taken. Oral consent has been taken from the subjects and only their information has been used in this study.Subjects aged more than 60 years have been considered for the study. Bed ridden patients, hospitalized patients and elderly people with acute illness were excluded from the study. 

Results: Data was collected from 134 subjects. Number of subjects: urban participants were 64 and rural participants were 70. Male and female were included. Prevalence of polypharmacy observed in this study was 40% in urban participants and 23% in rural participants. It was observed that, among elderly participants on polypharmacy 75% faced adverse drug reactions and 60% were subjected to prescription cascade. Among the elderly participants taking less than 5 drugs per day, 50% faced adverse drug reactions and 12% were subjected to prescription cascade.

Discussion: Adverse drug reactions and prescription cascade are main complications of polypharmacy in elderly people. Prescription review, counseling, life style modification and carefully supervised deprescription are some of the available solutions to solve the complications due to polypharmacy


Polypharmacy, Adverse drug reactions, Prescription cascade, Deprescription, inappropriate medication

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