Polypharmacy is a common issue that NPs and any prescriber should keep in mind. That is because a common risk factor for polypharmacy is elderly patients. After living for many years, it is common to have multiple comorbidities. Multiple comorbidities represent different treatment which most of the time includes 6 to 7 pills taken daily. Another risk factor for this includes obesity. Obesity rates continue to rise in the US and with that many other diseases. Obese patients usually suffer from cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological problems at the same time (Ersoy & Engin, 2018). All of these combined also lead to them needing multiple drugs to be taken as treatment daily.
As an NP, it is our duty to make sure we look out for the safety of the public specially when it comes to polypharmacy. One intervention we can apply in our plan of care for patients at risk of polypharmacy is providing education in regard to the side effects and information regarding the drug. Another intervention we can apply is finding medications that can be taken once a day and recommending using a pill dispenser (Dagli & Sharma, 2014). Another intervention that could be applied is eliminating one of the multiple drugs if possible or if the medication is unnecessary. Polypharmacy is an issue for many of our patients that’s why it is our job to manage it and prevent adverse effects from it.
Dagli, R. J., & Sharma, A. (2014). Polypharmacy: a global risk factor for elderly people. Journal of international oral health : JIOH, 6(6), i–ii.
Ersoy, S., & Engin, V. S. (2018). Risk factors for polypharmacy in older adults in a primary care setting: a cross-sectional study. Clinical interventions in aging, 13, 2003–2011. doi:10.2147/CIA.S176329