Polypharmacy has been variously defined as “use of multiple prescriptions and over-the-counter medications by older people with chronic health problems” or “Use of more medications than is clinically indicated”.
Because of the changes associated with ageing, polypharmacy can easily result in adverse drug events. These adverse events range from common complaints of dizziness and confusion to loss of appetite and serious complications such as bleeding and even death. In addition, patients who are taking multiple medications without a proper understanding of the indications for the medications and the potential interactions may be at increased risk of non-compliance. This in itself can result in undesirable outcomes.
Polypharmacy is especially common in older persons with multiple co-existent medical conditions who seek treatment from multiple doctors. If you suffer from multiple co-existent conditions and are taking medications from multiple doctors, you may wish to consider having a single doctor coordinate the different aspects of care amongst your different doctors.