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Aging & Polypharmacy

Polypharmacy refers to the concurrent use of 5 or more medications. Research has shown an association between this level of medication intake and negative health events (Richardson et al., 2011; Gnjidicet al., 2012). An alternative definition of polypharmacy includes the stipulation that at least one of the medications being used is potentially inappropriate given the individual’s health circumstances (Bushardt et al., 2008).

According to the Veterans Aging Cohort Study, over half of older adults living with HIV (age 50+) take five or more prescription drugs per day (Edelman et al., 2013). Another recent study showed that almost 70% of outpatient clinic patients living with HIV who were over the age of 60 were taking 5+ medications in addition to their HIV drugs (Holtzman et al., 2012).

Polypharmacy is a significant issue for all Canadians for several reasons.  Please read our "Impact of Polypharmacy" brochure (co-authored with CWGHR) for further details on aging and polypharmacy.


Creative Commons License
The Impact of Polypharmacy on Older Adults Living With HIV by Kate Murzin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.hivandrehab.ca.