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      A Survey on Polypharmacy and Use of Inappropriate Medications


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          In the past, polypharmacy was referred to the mixing of many drugs in one prescription. Today polypharmacy implies to the prescription of too many medications for an individual patient, with an associated higher risk of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and interactions. Situations certainly exist where the combination therapy or polytherapy is the used for single disease condition. Polypharmacy is a problem of substantial importance, in terms of both direct medication costs and indirect medication costs resulting from drug-related morbidity. Polypharmacy increases the risk of side effects and interactions. Moreover it is a preventable problem. A retrospective study was carried out at Bhopal district (Capital of Madhya Pradesh, India) in the year of September-November 2009 by collecting prescriptions of consultants at various levels of health care. The tendency of polypharmacy was studied and analyzed under the various heads in the survey. Available data suggests that polypharmacy is a widespread problem, and physician, clinical pharmacists and patients are all responsible. These risks can be minimized through identifying the prevalence of this potential problem in a high-risk population and by increasing awareness among patients and healthcare professionals. Physicians and clinical pharmacists have the potential to combating this problem through a variety of interventions such as reducing the number of medications taken, reducing the number of doses taken, increasing patient adherence, preventing ADRs, improving patient quality of life and decreasing facility and drug costs.

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          Incidence and preventability of adverse drug events among older persons in the ambulatory setting.

           Jerry Gurwitz (2003)
          Adverse drug events, especially those that may be preventable, are among the most serious concerns about medication use in older persons cared for in the ambulatory clinical setting. To assess the incidence and preventability of adverse drug events among older persons in the ambulatory clinical setting. Cohort study of all Medicare enrollees (30 397 person-years of observation) cared for by a multispecialty group practice during a 12-month study period (July 1, 1999, through June 30, 2000), in which possible drug-related incidents occurring in the ambulatory clinical setting were detected using multiple methods, including reports from health care providers; review of hospital discharge summaries; review of emergency department notes; computer-generated signals; automated free-text review of electronic clinic notes; and review of administrative incident reports concerning medication errors. Number of adverse drug events, severity of the events (classified as significant, serious, life-threatening, or fatal), and whether the events were preventable. There were 1523 identified adverse drug events, of which 27.6% (421) were considered preventable. The overall rate of adverse drug events was 50.1 per 1000 person-years, with a rate of 13.8 preventable adverse drug events per 1000 person-years. Of the adverse drug events, 578 (38.0%) were categorized as serious, life-threatening, or fatal; 244 (42.2%) of these more severe events were deemed preventable compared with 177 (18.7%) of the 945 significant adverse drug events. Errors associated with preventable adverse drug events occurred most often at the stages of prescribing (n = 246, 58.4%) and monitoring (n = 256, 60.8%), and errors involving patient adherence (n = 89, 21.1%) also were common. Cardiovascular medications (24.5%), followed by diuretics (22.1%), nonopioid analgesics (15.4%), hypoglycemics (10.9%), and anticoagulants (10.2%) were the most common medication categories associated with preventable adverse drug events. Electrolyte/renal (26.6%), gastrointestinal tract (21.1%), hemorrhagic (15.9%), metabolic/endocrine (13.8%), and neuropsychiatric (8.6%) events were the most common types of preventable adverse drug events. Adverse drug events are common and often preventable among older persons in the ambulatory clinical setting. More serious adverse drug events are more likely to be preventable. Prevention strategies should target the prescribing and monitoring stages of pharmaceutical care. Interventions focused on improving patient adherence with prescribed regimens and monitoring of prescribed medications also may be beneficial.
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            Older adults in the emergency department: a systematic review of patterns of use, adverse outcomes, and effectiveness of interventions.

            We sought to synthesize the literature on patterns of use of emergency services among older adults, risk factors associated with adverse health outcomes, and effectiveness of intervention strategies targeting this population. Relevant articles were identified by means of an English-language search of MEDLINE, HealthSTAR, CINAHL, Current Contents, and Cochrane Library databases from January 1985 to January 2001. This search was supplemented with literature from reference sections of the retrieved publications. A qualitative approach was used to synthesize the literature. Compared with younger persons, older adults use emergency services at a higher rate, their visits have a greater level of urgency, they have longer stays in the emergency department, they are more likely to be admitted or to have repeat ED visits, and they experience higher rates of adverse health outcomes after discharge. The risk factors commonly associated with the negative outcomes are age, functional impairment, recent hospitalization or ED use, living alone, and lack of social support. Comprehensive geriatric screening and coordinated discharge planning initiatives designed to improve clinical outcomes in older emergency patients have provided inconclusive results. Older ED patients have distinct patterns of service use and care needs. The current disease-oriented and episodic models of emergency care do not adequately respond to the complex care needs of frail older patients. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of screening and intervention strategies targeting at-risk older ED patients.
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              Recent patterns of medication use in the ambulatory adult population of the United States: the Slone survey.

              Data on the range of prescription and over-the-counter drug use in the United States are not available. To provide recent population-based information on use of all medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and minerals, and herbal preparations/natural supplements in the United States. Ongoing telephone survey of a random sample of the noninstitutionalized US population in the 48 continental states and the District of Columbia; data analyzed here were collected from February 1998 through December 1999. Use of medications, by type, during the preceding week, compared by demographic characteristics. Among 2590 participants aged at least 18 years, 81% used at least 1 medication in the preceding week; 50% took at least 1 prescription drug; and 7% took 5 or more. The highest overall prevalence of medication use was among women aged at least 65 years, of whom 12% took at least 10 medications and 23% took at least 5 prescription drugs. Herbals/supplements were taken by 14% of the population. Among prescription drug users, 16% also took an herbal/supplement; the rate of concurrent use was highest for fluoxetine users, at 22%. Reasons for drug use varied widely, with hypertension and headache mentioned most often (9% for each). Vitamins/minerals were frequently used for nonspecific reasons such as "health" (35%); herbals/supplements were also most commonly used for "health" (16%). In any given week, most US adults take at least 1 medication, and many take multiple agents. The substantial overlap between use of prescription medications and herbals/supplements raises concern about unintended interactions. Documentation of usage patterns can provide a basis for improving the safety of medication use.

                Author and article information

                Toxicol Int
                Toxicol Int
                Toxicology International
                Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd (India )
                Jan-Apr 2012
                : 19
                : 1
                : 68-73
                Department of Pharmacology, Peoples Institute of Pharmacy & Research Center, Peoples Group, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
                [1 ]Sagar Institute of Research Technology and Science, Ayodhya Nagar, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Mr. Sujit Kumar Rambhade, Peoples Institute of Pharmacy & Research Center, Peoples Group, Near BMHRC, Ayodhya Bypass Road, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. E-mail: sujitrambhade@ 123456gmail.com
                Copyright: © Toxicology International

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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