Sunday, January 15, 2006

polypharmocotherapy

Polypharmocotherapy is the use of multiple drug therapies for treatment of diseases. The elderly consume a disproportionately high amount of medication when compared to the general population. The over-65 age group represents 11 percent of the United States' population but consumes over 25 percent of all drugs prescribed. Chronic diseases that respond to drug therapy are prevalent in the elderly and multiple diseases are the rule, not the exception. Therefore, it can be expected that the elderly would take more medicines and for longer periods of time. Health-care professionals should carefully question a patient on the medications that are being used, both prescription and nonprescription. Though multiple drug therapy is unavoidable, each drug added to a treatment program increases the potential for adverse effects, including problems from drug interaction and drug abuse by the patient. With patients being treated by several physicians and other health-care personnel, one must be extremely vigilant of a patient's current drug therapy so as to avoid any unnecessary drug exposure.
See also MEDICATION, NONCOMPLIANCE; MEDICATION, SELF.
Covington, T., and Walker, J. Current Geriatric Therapy. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1984.

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