OPUS 12 Scientist, Volume 3, Number 1 (Jan-Mar 2009)

Polypharmacy and medication errors: Stop, Listen, Look, and Analyze...

S. Peter Stawicki, A. T. Gerlach


Polypharmacy and adverse drug events (ADE) continue to be difficult problems in modern healthcare despite continuing efforts to reduce their occurrence. The incidence of polypharmacy is increasing dramatically in the geriatric population, especially when considering that this 15% segment of the United States population accounts for nearly one third of all prescription medications. Increased incidence of adverse drug events has been associated with a variety of healthcare environments, including the intensive care unit (ICU) and various emergency settings (i.e., acute care surgery, emergency rooms, trauma care). This article reviews the incidence, etiologic factors, and potential solutions toward reducing both polypharmacy and ADE.

Citation: Stawicki SP, Gerlach AT. Polypharmacy and medication errors: Stop, listen, look, and analyze... OPUS 12 Scientist 2009;3(1):6-10.

Keywords: Polypharmacy, Adverse drug events, ADE, Geriatric patient, Intensive care unit, ICU, Emergency setting.

Copyright 2007-2009 OPUS 12 Foundation, Inc.

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