A commonly reported definition of polypharmacy is the numerical definition of 5 or more medications daily, and definitions have ranged from 2 or more to 11 or more medications. In this case report, an extreme case of polypharmacy is presented, highlighted by the inordinate number of drugs used over time throughout the patient’s care. A 48-year-old African American female with multiple comorbidities experienced a serious adverse drug event (ADE) prompting reporting to MedWatch, the US Food and Drug Administration’s adverse drug event reporting system. The patient’s concomitant medications included 146 drug entities, across 82 therapeutic drug categories. It is apparent that the greatest influence on the occurrence of polypharmacy was the presence of multiple comorbidities, and treatment centered around addressing each morbidity with drug therapy. This case illustrates the insidious nature of polypharmacy and raises questions as to the appropriate progression and limits on the use of multiple medications.
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Date of publication
Veronin, Michael A., "An Atypical Case of Extreme Polypharmacy" (2022). Pharmacy Faculty Publications and Presentations. Paper 5.
Veronin MA. An Atypical Case of Extreme Polypharmacy. Drug Healthc Patient Saf. 2022;14:19-26 https://doi.org/10.2147/DHPS.S332954