The term "polypharmacy" is most often used to refer to the use of multiple medications in one individual, but there is no clear consensus about what number of medications is required to qualify. Frequently, polypharmacy is considered to be synonymous with inappropriate prescribing, or the use of too many medications. The term is often used to convey unnecessary drug use, or to signal the need to reduce or eliminate medications from a patient's regimen.
While the use of multiple medications in one patient is something that should always be scrutinized, there are situations where patient conditions and comorbidities may require polypharmacy. In this scenario, the clinician must proactively manage the patient's medication list to prevent or minimize adverse reactions and interactions.
Adults with dementia or memory impairment are at particular risk for consequences from polypharmacy, as memory loss and loss of executive function may contribute to problems with medication adherence, difficulty following instructions and problems with identifying adverse reactions. This presentation will discuss polypharmacy in older adults, with added emphasis on the risks faced by adults with dementia and memory impairment, and will propose solutions to managing patient medication regimens. Through patient cases and examples, participants will be able to apply what they've learned regarding best practices for medication management in memory care patients.
- Define polypharmacy and list factors that can contribute to it in older adults
- Discuss the additional risks of polypharmacy that are experienced by adults with dementia
- Apply best practices for medication management in memory care patients
About the Speakers
Sarah M. Lawrence, PharmD, MA, BCGP
Assistant Professor of Clinical and Administrative Sciences; Director of the Pharmacy Technician Program
Sullivan University College of Pharmacy
Dr. Sarah M. Lawrence is Assistant Professor of Clinical and Administrative Sciences and Director of the Pharmacy Technician Program at Sullivan University College of Pharmacy in Louisville, Kentucky. Her Long Term Care experience includes three years with PharMerica, where she was Manager of Formulary and Therapeutics. In that role she oversaw per diem formulary management, Pharmacy & Therapeutics committee, clinical initiatives, and both internal and external educational programs, including PharMerica’s Clinical Geriatric Symposium. Dr. Lawrence has also worked as an independent consultant pharmacist providing Medication Therapy Management services to retirees. She is a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist.
Allen L. Lefkovitz, R.Ph., Pharm.D., BCGP, FASCP
Senior Manager for Clinical Education in Long-Term Care
Geriatric Center of Clinical Excellence
Omnicare, a CVS Health Company
Dr. Allen L. Lefkovitz is the Senior Manager for Clinical Education in Long-Term Care for Omnicare, a CVS Health company, in addition to being a Consultant Pharmacist for Omnicare in Ohio. He has served in the Long-Term Care industry for over 21 years, and has been a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist since 2006 and a Fellow of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists since 2007. In addition to his responsibilities as a consultant pharmacist, Dr. Lefkovitz is a member of CVS Health’s Geriatric Center of Clinical Excellence and works on the development of Omnicare’s clinical education programs for pharmacists and nursing home customers. Dr. Lefkovitz also helps Omnicare to evaluate clinical drug data elements that both impact pharmacy operating systems and promote patient safety (e.g., drug interactions, allergies, duplication of therapy). Dr. Lefkovitz also serves as a preceptor for three Ohio colleges of pharmacy (Ohio Northern University, The Ohio State University, and the University of Cincinnati).
Have questions about this program or obtaining your CEU? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
*This program is pending approval by the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards. For additional information, contact NAB at 1444 I St., NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005-2210, (202)712-9040, or http://www.nabweb.org*