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Polypharmacy not always to be avoided, says Kings Fund report

Polypharmacy isn't always something to avoid and appropriate use of multiple medication can extend and improve the quality of life says a King’s Fund report published today.

The three authors – all from general practice – say that although the term polypharmacy has tended to be used pejoratively, employing many appropriate treatments can theoretically improve outcomes for patients, especially given that there is an increasing evidence base for many drug interventions.

But they state the evidence base for multiple interventions for several conditions in an individual patient is poor and call for pragmatic clinical trials that include patients with multimorbidity and polypharmacy.

They also say guidelines should take account of long-term conditions that commonly co-exist, such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, heart failure and COPD.

Polypharmacy and medicines optimisation: making it safe and sound King’s Fund.