Polypharmacy in the Geriatric Oncology Population.


PURPOSE OF REVIEW This review explores the multiple definitions, epidemiology, and impact of polypharmacy in geriatric oncology patients. Risk factors and clinical implications of polypharmacy are delineated and potential clinical approaches to reduce polypharmacy are reviewed. RECENT FINDINGS Most sources currently define polypharmacy as the administration of multiple medications that are non-essential, unnecessary, duplicative, or ineffective. Possible risk factors associated with polypharmacy in geriatric cancer patients include comorbid conditions, prescribing cascades, and hospitalization. Consequences of polypharmacy in this population include adverse drug events, drug-drug interactions, reduced adherence, frailty, and increased morbidity. Clinical approaches to the reduction of polypharmacy include thorough medication histories and an interprofessional team approach to care. Polypharmacy is common and has a direct clinical impact on geriatric oncology patients. There is a clear deficit in our understanding of the scope and impact of polypharmacy in this population and only limited evaluation of various interventions exist. The paucity of information is at least partially linked to the consistent exclusion of older adults in cancer studies and the complex interaction between polypharmacy and potential morbidities/mortality.

DOI: 10.1007/s11912-017-0632-3

Cite this paper

@article{Hersh2017PolypharmacyIT, title={Polypharmacy in the Geriatric Oncology Population.}, author={Lauren R Hersh and Kathryn Beldowski and Emily R Hajjar}, journal={Current oncology reports}, year={2017}, volume={19 11}, pages={73} }