Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Polypharmacy is a common issue among the elderly population due to multiple comorbidities that develop as a person ages. With this increase, there is also the increased risk for negative health outcomes such as higher healthcare costs, adverse drug events, drug interactions, and increased mortality rate (Maher, Hanlon, & Hajjar, 2014). The elderly population is increasing worldwide, and it is estimated that 20% of the population will be older than 65 by 2025 (Milos et al., 2013). Patients 65 years old and older are the largest consumer of prescription and nonprescription medications in the United States, which has more than doubled since 1990. Practitioners must appropriately use medications for multiple diseases and attempt to avoid the risks often associated with polypharmacy. Because individuals are living longer and many with chronic disease, practitioners have a responsibility to appropriately prescribe. The following literature review and case study looks at the physical and financial effects of polypharmacy among those 65 years of age and older. This review examines the definition of polyphannacy and provides suggestions for practitioners to decrease polyphannacy among their elderly population.