Polypharmacy is what is in medicine?

Polypharmacy is the simultaneous administration of a considerable number of procedures or preparations to one and the same person. Most often this phenomenon is experienced by pregnant women, disabled people or elderly people. In general, doctors recommend patients several drugs that they are required to take.

Definition of

polypharmacy is

Everyone knows the fact that the pharmaceutical business is considered one of the most profitable. Now almost every corner of the pharmacy, often even in a round-the-clock mode. It should be noted that you can buy any medicine without problems, but their prices increase by 20-25% per year, but this does not frighten modern people, since advertising is built in such a way that everyone can establish a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment.

As a result, after visiting a doctor prescribing therapy, very often a considerable amount of additional medications is prescribed by the patient himself, and also the use of oral hormonal contraceptives is added there. The collection of so many medicines is the polypharmacy in pharmacology.

Why not mix?

polypharmacy in pharmacology

Many people believe that various treatments of natural origin can significantly improve the treatment process. Therefore, so often people begin to engage in self-medication, buying natural products. But this is not worth doing. It is necessary to know that even plant extracts are part of the composition with other components. As a result, a set of incorrectly selected medications is sometimes similar to an unsuccessful chemical experiment, can cause an "explosion" in the body. For example, if a patient takes Paracetamol and together with him decided to drink another plant extract of ginkgo biloba, then this drug polypharmacy will be excellent in diluting the blood and, of course, will prevent its coagulability. This can cause a serious problem in the event of injury, all of which lead to serious bleeding.

The same goes for biological supplements. At first glance, it does not cause anything dangerous to take a few capsules that contain nothing chemical, but when exposed to the components of the drug they can get into the wrong reaction.

Causes of

polypharmacy in medicine

1. The lack of knowledge and skills, the uncertainty of the diagnosis, the lack of information about the optimal approach with the appropriate diagnosis in the person who prescribes the medicine - all this eventually leads to polypharmacy in medicine.
2. Unaesthetic and improper promotion of drugs. Most individuals who prescribe drugs receive information more often from pharmaceutical companies than from independent sources. This often leads to excessive use of components.
3. Profit from the sale. In many countries, retailers of medicines distribute them without a prescription, since their income is directly related to the number of sales. This also leads to excessive consumption by the population.
4. Unlimited quantity - in many countries prescription drugs are released without the required document, this applies primarily to antibiotics. In the future, all this leads to excessive use and non-compliance with dosages.
5. Great burden on health workers. Many people who prescribe medicines have very little time for a qualitative examination, which leads to incorrect diagnosis.
6. Quite expensive drugs. In the event that a person does not have enough money for a prescribed medication, alternative ones, including non-guaranteed quality, are purchased instead.

Types of drug interactions

Polypharmacy is a mix of drugs that can be either useful or not:

1. Medications complement each other's actions.
2. Effects are multiplied( potentiation).For example, you can offer a combination of "Warfarin" and "Aspirin", which can cause active bleeding.
3. Efficacy is reduced or reduced to zero after the introduction of the second drug( inhibition / antagonism).Some medicines for heartburn( antacids), actively reduce the flow of antibiotics into the blood, as well as drugs that dilute blood, thereby reducing their effectiveness.


drug polypharmacy

The main problem of state polyclinics is the presence of certain difficulties for getting to the doctors. There are many reasons for this, but as a result, the patient does not want to wait and is engaged in self-medication. More often than not, consumers receive information from the Internet, as a result, because of their ignorance, they themselves cause polypharmacy with drugs.

The most demanded medical sites are during the period of acute colds. Most often advised to take:

  • immunomodulators;
  • antiviral agents;
  • antihistamines;
  • preparations for the restoration of intestinal microflora.

Although basically none of the medications the patient does not need. As a result, with a common cold, a person takes from 5 drugs and more. This polypharmacy, which is caused by self-medication, it can be quite problematic and carry a lot of negative results.

Disadvantages of

  1. The risk of unwanted consequences rises 6 times. If the patient takes more than 3 components at the same time, then the probability of adverse reactions increases by 10 times.
  2. When 2 medicines are used, drug interaction is provoked in 6% of cases. If you jointly take 5 drugs, this parameter reaches 50%, in the case of 10 - 100%.
  3. From side effects, mortality increases in the elderly( over 80 years).

Polypharmacy in the elderly

polypharmacy of medicines

Very often, this situation is forced, when such patients have several diseases. In this case, the doctor tries to cure all the ailments and prevent possible complications. But they rarely take into account the decrease in the therapeutic result against the background of a change in the metabolism of drugs due to age-related changes in the body.

Most drugs are obtained by synthetic conversion from various chemical components. However, with improper use of drugs, unforeseen drug interactions are provoked. As a result, chemical reactions occur not only between the initial preparations, but also their active metabolites. This causes the formation of highly allergenic complexes that can provoke severe bullous generalized dermatitis and epidermal necrolysis, especially in old age.

Combined therapy and polypharmacy in this case is the same and arises from the wrong choice of medicinal components, when the patient is prescribed optional and unidirectional medications. And also among older citizens of the society there is such a problem as pharmacomania. A similar condition is a habit of using certain medications, even if they are not needed at the moment or simply ineffective.

Risk category, pregnant women and children

The appointment of a considerable number of drugs to older people is easy to explain. Usually, those who have reached a solid age, there are several chronic diseases, each of which requires therapy. But how can we explain polypharmacy in pharmacology, which affects pregnant women and children? After contacting the children's polyclinic with ARVI, parents receive a list of five or even more drugs on their hands. Antipyretics, antiviral, interferons, expectorants, local anesthetics, vitamins, and there is no limit to the end of the list.

The situation in obstetrics is not much better. Despite the fact that the influence of most drugs at the time of pregnancy has not been studied enough, medicines are prescribed without stint. Over the past 30 years, the number of pregnant women who take more than four drugs at the same time has increased by more than 30%.In the first trimester, most women with a normal course of pregnancy use multivitamins, progesterone, calcium preparations, antispasmodics and sedatives. On more serious terms, the absorption of tablets only increases. It should be noted that leading experts recommend to use only folic acid, other components are taken only according to indications.

Rules for taking medications

polypharmacy of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract

Polypharmacy and combination therapy in pharmacology are two similar concepts, between which it is sometimes very difficult to trace the line. Not always such conditions have a positive effect on human health, so proper medication is very important for patients:

  1. It is necessary to strictly follow the doctor's instructions and the instructions to the drug.
  2. Do not engage in self-medication, articles on health or advertising on TV is not a reason to prescribe yourself a personal treatment. Consultation with the doctor is necessary.
  3. The effect of the drug will only be when it is taken at the same time, in which case the concentration of the components will be uniform throughout the day.
  4. It is necessary to pay attention to the time at which it is required to take the drug, since different drugs do not have a pronounced therapeutic effect at any time of the day or night. Painkillers are recommended to be consumed at night, as the pain usually increases at this time, and the vasodilating ones - in the morning. Antihistamines are used in the evening, as at night less hormone is formed, which inhibits allergic reactions.
  5. The treatment should always be completed, even if there are no symptoms of the disease and the health has improved.
  6. When several medications are prescribed, then they should be taken separately, with a small interval of time.
  7. Tablets are recommended to chew, as their action will begin already in the oral cavity.
  8. Polypharmacy of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract is very common, therefore it is necessary to consult a doctor when treating such ailments.
  9. All medications need to be washed down.
  10. It is strictly forbidden to use funds that have expired. The ineffectiveness of treatment will be a harmless result, and the most terrible is an incorrigible harm to health.

WHO Activities

Polypharmacy is a serious problem at the moment. Therefore, to improve the use of drugs, the World Health Organization( WHO) is conducting the following activities:

  • monitors the global use of medicinal components;
  • provides and supports countries in the field of drug control, as well as new developments in the proper use of medicines;
  • distributes and develops programs for national health professionals to prepare for improving and controlling the use of tablets at all levels.


polypharmacy in the elderly

To date, the problem of polypharmacy is very acute. It is necessary to know that treatment will be successful only if you use as few drugs as possible and strictly according to the doctor's prescription. Studies have shown that in elderly people who have severe manifestations of ailments, with the withdrawal of all drugs, there is a significant improvement in the condition.

It is not for nothing that WHO maintains a healthy lifestyle and physical activity. It is noted that athletes and people who monitor their physical health use much less drugs, and the older they become, the more their number decreases.