Polypharmacy in the Emergency Department

Clin Geriatr Med. 2022 Nov;38(4):727-732. doi: 10.1016/j.cger.2022.05.012. Epub 2022 Sep 14.


Polypharmacy in the emergency department (ED) presents additional challenges for older adults with acute illnesses but is also an opportunity for healthcare providers to prevent adverse drug events as well as the use of potentially inappropriate medications. Older patients have complex health-related needs and are at risk for medication-related complications during an ED visit. Implementing mitigating strategies of performing medication reconciliation and review, using existing implicit or explicit tools to evaluate medications, and deprescribing or de-escalating high-risk medications are critical to positive health outcomes. These practices can help to optimize pharmacologic interventions for older patients in the ED.

Keywords: Adverse drug events; Medication reconciliation; Polypharmacy; Potentially inappropriate medications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions* / prevention & control
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / prevention & control
  • Medication Reconciliation
  • Polypharmacy*
  • Potentially Inappropriate Medication List