A Comprehensive Overview of Polypharmacy in Elderly Patients in Saudi Arabia

Geriatrics (Basel). 2019 May 15;4(2):36. doi: 10.3390/geriatrics4020036.


Background/Objectives: Saudi Arabia has a great percentage of geriatric patients associated with multiple chronic diseases who require close attention and monitoring for their medications. The purpose of this study is to develop a full-framed picture about the utilization of medications for geriatric patients and how to provide better health-care management. Methodology: A retrospective cross-sectional study targeting patients 65 years of age and older, who are taking multiple chronic medications for different indications. Descriptive analysis and frequency of the main variables were used as appropriate. Only qualified and professional candidates were chosen for data entry to present the quality and accuracy of data. Results: A total of 3009 patient profiles were analyzed, with the patients' average age in years being 73.26 ± 6.6 (SD). It was found that 55% of the patients have polypharmacy. An average of 6.4 medications were prescribed for patients aged between 65 and 70 years compared with a significant difference for patients aged 71 years and above, while a linear correlation between age and comorbidity diseases associated with all elderly patients. Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes mellitus are the most common comorbidity diseases for elderly patients aged 65 years and older. Conclusion: Polypharmacy in geriatrics is defined as a patient aged 65 years and older receiving five or more appropriate medications. It is the responsibility of health-care professionals to reduce the number of medications in elderly patients. Awareness of geriatric medications and diagnosed diseases will improve managing adverse drug reaction and other risk factors. Awareness of geriatric medications should elaborate on how to avoid adverse drug reaction and other risk factors. It is the responsibility of physicians and pharmacists to reduce the number of medications in elderly patients. We also prove that the number of medications will not necessarily increase with age. The main impact of this study is to follow the main recommendations to improve health care management in geriatrics.

Keywords: appropriate medication; elderly patients; geriatrics; polypharmacy; prescribed medication.