Poly-pharmacy is defined as the use of five or more medications. Australians are living longer and unfortunately approximately half of them have three or more chronic diseases. A typical Australian aged 65 years or above takes four or more different medications each day. Poly-pharmacy is present in 20-40% of elderly population. Although there are benefits of appropriately prescribed (more so on evidence based guidelines) medications, 20% of hospital admissions in older people are medications related and medication injuries are the main source of all treatment injuries among the elderly.
What can be done to address Poly-pharmacy?
Treating elderly people is very challenging as with age there are age-related physiological changes in the body which significantly affect the absorption, metabolism, excretion and also the effect a particular drug has on various organs/tissues of the body. So a Geriatrician is much better placed to address to this issue. Further Dr Sidhu at Mediclinic is a post-graduate in Pharmacology and has a sound knowledge base in pharmaco-kinetics (what body does to the drug/medications), pharmaco-dynamics (what drug/medications do the body) and drug interactions. So at Mediclinic medication review in each patient is an essential component of the management.
What are potentially inappropriate medications?
PIMS-which is defined as a medication where the risk of adverse event outweighs the clinical benefit, particularly if there is evidence of a safer and more effective alternative) among elderly.