This is a handout that highlights the effects of Polypharmacy in the elderly and how to reduce the related financial issues that might be associated. Polypharmacy is an administration of multiple medications at the same to treat different conditions. In most situations, those multiple descriptions are done inappropriately. That problem that usually results from Polypharmacy is that of adverse drug reactions or adverse drug interaction. Financial problems can also result from too much drug use.
Important keys to handling Polypharmacy risks are information, instruction and organization.
Information (In such situations, patients needs to)
- Keep accurate list of all medicationsthis must be in terms of dosage, generic and brand names, indication for drug use.
- Keep complete list of medical provider and contact information.
- Patients needs to understand the name, appearance, purpose and effects of each medication.
- Patients needs to understand the associated adverse effects and interaction.
- Patients will be enlighten on how to contact the healthcare provider once there are concerns and questions.
- Patients need to be informed as regards to the importance of different potential drug-related problems that warrant emergency response and care (Kathlene, 2010).
- Patients also needs to understand why there is a need to take the medication as directed by provider
Organization (of drugs is also very important as regards to)
- Avoiding medication sharing
- Storage of medication in a secured place or refigeration if necessary
- Disposing old medications properly
Pharmacokinetics aspect of Polypharmacy relate to the drug absorption, drug distribution, drug metabolism and drug excretion are all important regarding the aging factor of the affected patients. Patients need to understand the fact that aging affects all the listed factors that are important to drug use. For instance, medications that are taken orally have a specific site of action which is the small intestine. It is important to note that aging decrease the blood flow to that site hence making absorption of that region become slower (Kaufman, 2011). The plasma proteins that influence the drug distribution needs to bind to the drug before it can be properly distributed. This protein binding also decrease since the protein needed for the binding are decreased in production especially in the older patients. When the time for metabolism starts, the liver which is the site of drug metabolism becomes functional. However, there are usually some forms of age-related changes that cause some form of reduction in the size of liver (Kaufman, 2011). This will affects the blood flow to the liver and also influence the drug metabolism at the site. The only implication of this change is that those drugs that are metabolized by the liver may not be broken down completely. While as regards to the drug excretion which is the major function of kidney, aging affects this function because of the reduction in renal clearance that is related to aging (Kaufman, 2011).
There are several ways or approaches that can help to achieve a form of non-pharmacological therapy in managing pain, sleep and depression. These approaches that could be used for pain are patient education, acupuncture, music therapy, massage, and mind-body therapies.
Kathleen, W. (2010). Preventing Polypharmacy in Older Adults. American Nurse Today. Medscape.
Retrieved 06, March, 2014 from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/732131_6
Kaufman, G. (2011). Polypharmacy in older adults. Nursing Standards. May 25; Vol 25 no 28.