Polypharmacy as a Danger for Adults’ Health


Polypharmacy is a major concern for a vast range of people throughout the world. The notion implies excessive medication use and is considered to be the most problematic issue for elderly people who have certain health problems. It is assumed that seniors are less likely to benefit from some types of medicaments than the representatives of younger generations. Moreover, some aged people suffer from the adverse effects of polypharmacy. The problem of polypharmacy in adults can be solved through the help of the deprescribing method that should be embraced by modern case managers. This approach can allow the medical workers to control the types of medicaments that are taken by the separate patients as well as analyze the impacts that these medicaments make upon the seniors’ health.

The Progress of Polypharmacy: Evaluating the Risks

The problem of polypharmacy in adults becomes a key risk for millions of people. In 2007, at the University of Pittsburgh, a consistent study on the inappropriate use of medication was sustained. The primary goal of this research was to evaluate the progress of polypharmacy through the analysis of the materials from the MEDLINE database. According to the results of this investigation, polypharmacy in senior patients proceeds to increase, while the medical workers do not manage to control the consequences that are associated with unnecessary drug use (Hajjar, Kafiero, & Hanlon, 2007). Consequently, the number of cases that are connected with this problem grows every year.

Deprescribing as an Effective Method to Reduce Polypharmacy

Despite the fact that deprescribing is not easily implemented in medical spheres, it is the method that can contribute to a rapid decrease of polypharmacy among adults. According to Le Couteur, Banks, Gnjidic, & McLachlan (2011), “deprescribing is used to define the cessation of long-term therapy, supervised by a clinician” (p. 182). In August 2014, Swedish scientists who investigated the method ranked deprescribing as one of the most efficient techniques that can prevent the development of polypharmacy in adults. Due to the findings of their research, there are five groups of drugs that should be included in the deprescribing list. These classes of medicaments were proved to cause considerate mental, cardiovascular and neurological disorders among senior patients. The study was carried out by a panel of professional pharmacists, physicians and other medical workers (Farrell et al., 2015). The differentiation of five priority groups of harmful drugs can be viewed as a crucial discovery since it provides the guidelines for clinicians who deal with polypharmacy and facilitates the process of deprescribing. Still, it should be pointed out that the success of this method is stipulated not only by the perfect knowledge of the types of drugs that should be forbidden for adults. Primarily, deprescribing presupposes constant care and monitoring from the side of case managers.

The Effectiveness of Deprescribing

The health care history provides many examples of the success of deprescribing. In 2012, two experimental interventions were sustained by a group of scientists from Michigan. These interventions were meant to prove that the limitation of drug usage, as well as perpetual control of the daily regimes of elderly patients, can avert the damaging impact of polypharmacy. According to the results of the study, the general rates of polypharmacy dwindled from 29.01 to 9.43 per 1000 patients after the first mediation and from 27.99 to 17.07 after the second one (Zarowitz, Stebelsky, Muma, Romain, & Peterson, 2012).


To sum it up, this essay discloses the problem of polypharmacy in adults. Recent studies prove that one of the most effective methods of the reduction of polypharmacy is deprescribing. This approach helps case managers to handle the regulation of drugs that can be prescribed to elderly people. Therefore, medical workers are able to preclude the adverse effects of drug usage through the application of deprescribing.


Farrell, B., Tsang, C., Raman-Wilms, L., Irving, H., Conklin, J., & Pottie, K. (2015). What are the priorities for deprescribing for elderly patients? Capturing the voice of practitioners. PLoS ONE, 10(4), 1-22.

Hajjar, E., Cafiero, A., & Hanlon, J. (2007). Polypharmacy in elderly patients. The American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy, 5(4), 345-351.

Le Couteur, D., Banks, E., Gnjidic, G., & McLachlan, D. (2011). Deprescribing. Australian Prescriber, 34(6), 182-185.

Zarowitz, B., Stebelsky, L., Muma, B., Romain, T., & Peterson, E. (2012). Reduction of high-risk polypharmacy drug combinations in patients in a managed care setting. The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy, 25(11), 1636-1645.

Cite this paper

Select style


NursingBird. (2022, April 27). Polypharmacy as a Danger for Adults’ Health. Retrieved from https://nursingbird.com/polypharmacy-as-a-danger-for-adults-health/


NursingBird. (2022, April 27). Polypharmacy as a Danger for Adults’ Health. https://nursingbird.com/polypharmacy-as-a-danger-for-adults-health/

Work Cited

"Polypharmacy as a Danger for Adults’ Health." NursingBird, 27 Apr. 2022, nursingbird.com/polypharmacy-as-a-danger-for-adults-health/.


NursingBird. (2022) 'Polypharmacy as a Danger for Adults’ Health'. 27 April.


NursingBird. 2022. "Polypharmacy as a Danger for Adults’ Health." April 27, 2022. https://nursingbird.com/polypharmacy-as-a-danger-for-adults-health/.

1. NursingBird. "Polypharmacy as a Danger for Adults’ Health." April 27, 2022. https://nursingbird.com/polypharmacy-as-a-danger-for-adults-health/.


NursingBird. "Polypharmacy as a Danger for Adults’ Health." April 27, 2022. https://nursingbird.com/polypharmacy-as-a-danger-for-adults-health/.