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Current Drug Metabolism


ISSN (Print): 1389-2002
ISSN (Online): 1875-5453

Systematic Review Article

Worldwide Prevalence of Polypharmacy: A Systematic Review

Author(s): Beatriz Dias Januário, Natália Silva Mafra, Humberto de Souza Silva, Isabella Monteiro Carvalho, Ana Luiza Sobreira Sena, Ana Paula Gomes Soares Pereira, Newton Santos de Faria Júnior and Helton Oliveira Campos*

Volume 24, Issue 8, 2023

Published on: 31 August, 2023

Page: [568 - 586] Pages: 19

DOI: 10.2174/1389200224666230727093010

Price: $65


Introduction: The present study has compiled the prevalence of polypharmacy worldwide and assessed the prevalence of polypharmacy in different populations, including community-dwelling individuals, hospitalized patients, and institutionalized patients.

Methods: This systematic review was conducted and reported according to the guidelines outlined in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement. A systematic search of electronic databases, including PubMed, Web of Science, and Scielo, was performed in March 2021 without any date and language restrictions. Combinations of the following keywords were used for the search strategy: polypharmacy OR multiple medications OR multiple medicines OR multiple drug AND prevalence. Based on the search and inclusion criteria, two hundred and eight studies (73,076,167 individuals) were selected for inclusion in the systematic review. It was observed that there is a wide variation in the prevalence of polypharmacy between studies.

Results: The prevalence of polypharmacy was found to be 30.2%, 61.7%, and 56.9% for community-dwelling individuals, hospitalized patients, and institutionalized patients, respectively.

Conclusion: Based on the analyses, this systematic review has demonstrated a wide variation in the prevalence of polypharmacy between studies and countries and a high prevalence of polypharmacy in institutionalized and hospitalized patients.

Keywords: Drug combinations, drug therapy, inappropriate prescribing, potentially inappropriate medications, epidemiology, polypharmacy.

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