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what is polypharmacy

Polypharmacy is the concurrent use of multiple medications by a patient. Polypharmacy is most common in the elderly, affecting about 40% of older adults living in their own homes.About 21% of adults with intellectual disability are also exposed to polypharmacy. Polypharmacy is not always bad, but it is bad in many instances, often being more harmful than helpful or presenting too much risk for too little benefit.

Therefore, health professionals consider it a situation that requires monitoring and review to validate whether all of the medications are still necessary. Concerns about polypharmacy include increased adverse drug reactions, drug interactions, prescribing cascade, and higher costs

Whether or not the advantages of polypharmacy (over monotherapy) outweigh the disadvantages or risks depends upon the particular combination and diagnosis involved in any given case