With the elderly population living longer, the rise of polypharmacy is becoming more common. Polypharmacy, the state of being in more than 5 medications causes high risk in the health of the patient and consequently becomes a huge concern for medical practitioners (Golchin, Frank, Vince, Isham & Meropol, 2015). Polypharmacy is common among the elderly people especially because of high morbidity factors. As a result, it becomes medically necessary to be on multiple medications, although it is not advisable especially given the high risk the patient is put into. The question becomes does the benefits outweigh the consequences? It is important to understand these risks and possible interventions to prevent, treat and respond to polypharmacy risks in order to improve patient outcomes.
Among the risk associated with polypharmacy are reactions between drug to drug reactions and increased risk of morbidity. Approximately 40% of the older adults are on multiple prescription drugs, while half of these are at a high risk of experiencing the risks associated with polypharmacy (Rossi, Feske, Shaffer & Kreutzer, 2017). Reaction to drugs can cause effects such as allergic reactions and other serious adverse effects that can be fatal (Azhagesan, 2017). Also, drugs may react with each other resulting in one having a greater effect than the other, and possibly hindering it from the intended action. Morbidity is the ultimate and most unprecedented risk as death may occur on the patient following immunity weakening.
As a health concern, practitioners need to respond to this issue. The first response is to examine the patient’s accurate medical history upon any given discharge. This is important in examining previous medications and how they fared well with the particular patient. This also helps to inspire the most accurate medication (Rossi, Feske, Shaffer & Kreutzer, 2017). Secondly, the medical practitioners need to reconcile medications given to the patient (Azhagesan, 2017). This helps to prevent the risk of drug to drug interactions, while adhering to early intervention to help to prevent or deal with medical issues.