Main Article Content

Caroline Sirois
Valérie Émond


Polypharmacy, epidemiologic measurements, surveillance


With the always- increasing prevalence and incidence of chronic diseases, polypharmacy becomes a necessity for many individuals. There is a genuine interest to studying polypharmacy because it is associated with both favourable and dreadful consequences. Nonetheless, there is still no formal universal definition for polypharmacy. There is a need to determine what medications to include in the definition. Administrative databases are valuable sources of information for perform ing populational surveillance of polypharmacy, but they encounter some limits, such as the fact that over the counter drugs are not accounted for. There are still many uncertainties regarding the creation of a polypharmacy indicator for public health. However, it is imperative to build such an indicator to evaluate the benefits and harms of polypharmacy.

Abstract 156 | PDF Downloads 132


1. Institut canadien d'information sur la santé. Utilisation des médicaments chez les personnes âgées adhérant à un régime public d'assurance - médicaments au Canada, 2012. In: Ottawa OI, ed. 2014.
2. Goldberg RM, Mabee J, Chan L, Wong S. Drug-drug and drug-disease interactions in the ED: analysis of a high- risk population. Am J Emerg Med 1996;14:447- 50.
3. Johnell K, Klarin I. The relationship between number of drugs and potential drug-drug interactions in the elderly: a study of over 600,000 elderly patients from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register. Drug Saf 2007;30:911- 8.
4. Hajjar ER, Cafiero AC, Hanlon JT. Polypharmacy in elderly patients. Am J Geriatr Pharmacother 2007;5:345- 51.
5. Steinman MA, Landefeld CS, Rosenthal GE, Berthenthal D, Sen S, Kaboli PJ. Polypharmacy and prescribing quality in older people. J Am Geriatr Soc 2006;54:1516- 23.
6. Bjerrum L, Rosholm JU, Hallas J, K ragstrup J. Methods for estimating the occurrence of polypharmacy by means of a prescription database. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1997;53:7- 11.
7. Tamura BK, Bell CL, Inaba M, Masaki KH. Outcomes of polypharmacy in nursing home residents. Clin Geriatr Med 2012;28:2 17- 36.
8. Hovstadius B, Petersson G. Factors leading to excessive polypharmacy. Clin Geriatr Med 2012;28:159- 72.
9. Hovstadius B, Petersson G, Hellstrom L, Ericson L. Trends in inappropriate drug therapy prescription in the elderly in Sweden from 2006 to 2013: assessment using national indicators. Drugs Aging 2014;31:379- 86.
10. Gnjidic D, Hilmer SN, Blyth FM, et al. Polypharmacy cutoff and outcomes: five or more medicines were used to identify community-dwelling older men at risk of different adverse outcomes. J Cli n Epidemiol 2012;65:989- 95.
11. Lai SW, Liao KF, Liao CC, Muo CH, Liu CS, Sung FC. Polypharmacy correlates with increased risk for hip fracture in the elderly: a population-based study. Medicine 2010;89:295- 9.
12. Moen J, Norrgard S, Antonov K, Nilsson J, Ring L. GPs’ perceptions of multiple -medicine use in older patients. J Eval Clin Pract 2010;16:69- 75.
13. Zou D, Tannenbaum C. Educational needs, practice patterns and quality indicators to improve geriatric pharmacy care. Canadian pharmacists journal: CPJ Revue des pharmaciens du Canada: RPC 2014;147:110- 7.
14. Patterson SM, Hughes C, Kerse N, Cardwell CR, Bradley MC. Interventions to improve the appropriate use of polypharmacy for older people. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012;5:CD008165.
15. Monégat M, Sermet C. La polyméd ication: définitions, Mesures et enjeux. Revue de la littérature et tests de mesure. Institut de recherche et documentation en économie de la santé Questions d'économie de la santé 2014;204:1- 8.