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What is Polypharmacy and How Does It Impact Seniors?

What is Polypharmacy?

Literally translated, “poly” is derived from the Greek word meaning more than one and “pharmacy” refers to the Greek word for drug .

In practical terms, Polypharmacy is a term used to describe the prescribing of multiple medications, leaving a patient at risk of dangerous drug interactions and potential adverse side effects like confusion and balance problems.  Polypharmacy can occur in a variety of ways:

  • Prescribing of an inappropriately high number of medications
  • Prescribing of more medications than may be necessary for a given condition
  • Prescribing of an inappropriate medication for that condition

Polypharmacy and Seniors

With the exceptional advancements in medical science and technology, people are living longer than ever.

As a result, polypharmacy is becoming a more prevalent concern in older adults, especially those who reside in a nursing facility, where doctors prescribe medications to treat a host of clinical conditions.

Unfortunately, there is no standard cut point with regard to the number of medications that is agreed upon for the definition of polypharmacy. Therefore, to pragmatically and practically apply a definition in medical parlance, researchers have arbitrarily chosen various cut points.

At Ditmas Park, we are in tune with the nuances and precise medical condition of all our residents, to ensure that they are given the appropriate medications in the appropriate doses.

For more information and to schedule a tour, please contact our Admissions Department, at: 718-462-8100

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