Approximately one third of all drugs prescribed in the United States are considered unnecessary. Polypharmacy, the unnecessary, excessive use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, increases clients’ risk for adverse drug reactions and drug-drug interactions. Reducing the incidence of polypharmacy is a health protection goal of Healthy People 2000 Older clients, particularly older women living independently in the community, are at highest risk for polypharmacy caused by age-related changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, the presence of comorbidities requiring pharmacologic management, and high rates of unintentional noncompliance with their therapeutic regimen. Health providers may contribute to polypharmacy directly by excessive or inappropriate prescribing practices or indirectly through lack of knowledge concerning drug action and interaction, or through their inability to resist client’s demands for pharmacologic interventions. Strategies to prevent and detect polypharmacy are suggested to reduce its incidence and the severity of its consequences

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