The Perils of Polypharmacy

The term “polypharmacy” most commonly refers to a situation where a patient is being treated with many, five or more, medications. Patients of all ages may potentially receive many medications. The incidences of polypharmacy are on the rise in part to a population subset seeing more doctors (primary care and specialists) and an increase in chronic diseases.

The consequences of inappropriate polypharmacy are more common and often more severe in the elderly, as they are more likely to have a number of chronic conditions. Physiological changes, in particular those that are age-related, also impact how drugs affect patients and can place them at higher risk of experiencing harm, particularly in the case of those inappropriately on many medications. In this podcast, there will be a review of the issues associated with polypharmacy as well as  recommendations for providers, patients, and patient family members on how to reduce patient harm and medication errors associated with inappropriate polypharmacy.


Raymond Lo, PharmD, MBA, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Novartis, Name Creation & Regulatory Strategy

Tyler Nichols, PharmD, BCPS, 2022-2023 ISMP International Medication Safety Management Fellow, Institute for Safe Medication Practices

This podcast is supported by Novartis, Name Creation & Regulatory Strategy.