Polypharmacy is the simultaneous use of multiple medicines, usually more than five. Polypharmacy is highly prevalent among older individuals and is associated with several adverse health outcomes, including frailty. The role of polypharmacy in nutritional status seems to be crucial: although a clear association between polypharmacy and malnutrition has been widely reported in older people, the magnitude of the effect of increased number of drugs in combination with their type on the risk for malnutrition remains to be largely explored. Therefore, this review aims to discuss the association between polypharmacy and malnutrition in older people and to provide suggestions for its management. Polypharmacy is prevalent among malnourished frail patients, and the relative contribution of comorbidities and polypharmacy to malnutrition is difficult to be determined. Several mechanisms by which commonly used medications have the potential to affect nutritional status have been identified and described. Deprescribing (i.e., a systematic process of identification and discontinuation of drugs or a reduction of drug regimens) could be an essential step for minimizing the effects of polypharmacy on malnutrition. In this regard, the literature suggests that in older patients taking several medications, the best method to solve this problem is the comprehensive geriatric assessment, based on a holistic approach, including drug review, to find potential unnecessary and inappropriate medications. Nutritional and deprescribing interventions must be tailored to patient needs and to the local context to overcome barriers when applied in different settings.

Polypharmacy and malnutrition in older people: A narrative review

Zanetti, Michela
;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Polypharmacy is the simultaneous use of multiple medicines, usually more than five. Polypharmacy is highly prevalent among older individuals and is associated with several adverse health outcomes, including frailty. The role of polypharmacy in nutritional status seems to be crucial: although a clear association between polypharmacy and malnutrition has been widely reported in older people, the magnitude of the effect of increased number of drugs in combination with their type on the risk for malnutrition remains to be largely explored. Therefore, this review aims to discuss the association between polypharmacy and malnutrition in older people and to provide suggestions for its management. Polypharmacy is prevalent among malnourished frail patients, and the relative contribution of comorbidities and polypharmacy to malnutrition is difficult to be determined. Several mechanisms by which commonly used medications have the potential to affect nutritional status have been identified and described. Deprescribing (i.e., a systematic process of identification and discontinuation of drugs or a reduction of drug regimens) could be an essential step for minimizing the effects of polypharmacy on malnutrition. In this regard, the literature suggests that in older patients taking several medications, the best method to solve this problem is the comprehensive geriatric assessment, based on a holistic approach, including drug review, to find potential unnecessary and inappropriate medications. Nutritional and deprescribing interventions must be tailored to patient needs and to the local context to overcome barriers when applied in different settings.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3052980
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