Conference Coverage

Beware of polypharmacy in patients taking warfarin



The researchers reported that 9,885 prescriptions were tabulated for the study population, which translated into a per patient average of 8.8 concurrent active prescription drugs, independent of age. They observed an age-dependent increase in the number of concurrent drugs that peaked at 9.9 among patients aged 70-74 years, and tapered off in those older than age 75. One patient in the 70- to 74-year-old age group was on 28 active prescriptions.

“If you’re on 28 pills, your chance of a bleeding complication is high,” Dr. Jacobson said. “We try to be rigorous with all of our patients on education. With these patients, slow the conversation down more. Have a family member come in with them and go into more detail.”

He added that the maximum number of concurrent prescriptions for any single patient in each age bracket tended to be two to three times higher than that of the average patient.

Dr. Jacobson acknowledged certain limitations of the study, including its single-center design and relatively small sample size. There was also no comparison available as to the number of concurrent prescriptions for patients not receiving warfarin. He reported having no financial disclosures.

[email protected]

SOURCE: Jacobson M et al. THSNA 2018. Poster 2.


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