Polypharmacy in older adults: the role of the multidisciplinary team

Joshua M. Baruth, Melanie T. Gentry, Teresa A. Rummans, Donna M. Miller, M. Caroline Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Patients over the age 65 are a quickly expanding segment of the US population and represent a large percentage of patients requiring inpatient care. Older adults are more likely to experience polypharmacy and adverse drug effects. This review explains the risks of polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medications in the elderly. Specific classes of medications frequently used in older adults in acute care settings are examined, including anticholinergic, sedative hypnotics, and antipsychotic medications. We discuss strategies aimed at addressing polypharmacy in this population including a drug regimen review (which is distinct from medication reconciliation), screening tools, pharmacist-led interventions, and computer-based strategies in the context of current literature and research findings. We provide a summary of general guidelines that may be helpful for geriatricians and hospitalists in improving patient care and clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalHospital Practice
Issue numbersup1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Inappropriate prescribing
  • elderly
  • medications
  • patient safety
  • polypharmacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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