What are some of the risks associated with
pharmacotherapy in general?
Describe rates of (a) adverse drug reactions,
(b) physician visits and (c) hospitalizations associated with
polypharmacy in the elderly.
Identify one dental risk associated with
Some Major Issues in
Polypharmacy refers to drug
treatment (pharmacotherapy) with multiple medications. There are
several issues associated with pharmacotherapy in
general that are frequently encountered with
persons with intellectual disability. The following issues should
Risks/benefits of medication need to be fully considered
(e.g., drugs which adversely affect cognition, either directly or
Informed consent is required to support the prescription
or administration of psychotropic medications.
Medications need to be integrated as part of a comprehensive
treatment plan. Communication between prescribing physician and other
therapists is necessary.
Care must be taken to avoid multiple representatives from the
same medication class.
Over time, doses must be adjusted appropriately, so only the
minimum dose at which a medication remains effective is used.
Patients in their eighties are commonly prescribed 8 to 12
medications, and the potential dangers in the form of adverse effects
are well known. Here are some facts for elderly persons taking more
than 5 medications:
There is a 35%
chance of developing an adverse drug reaction each year
(70%) of such patients will require a physician visit
(10%) will be hospitalized
Risks of Polypharmacy
In summary, regular and thorough evaluation of the
effectiveness of a patient's medications by health care providers is
crucial to minimize the risks of polypharmacy.