Polypharmacy Calls for a Specialty Pharmacist

Hands of an elderly person holding blister pack of pills with other medications in background

Ongoing health issues tend to come with the need for multiple medications. This is so common that it has a name: polypharmacy. Polypharmacy impacts healthcare spending at both an individual and payer level. But on the patient level, the bigger concern associated with polypharmacy is the potential for drug-drug interactions.

Polypharmacy can develop if a person needs multiple medications for a single medical issue. But it’s even more common when a person needs multiple medications for simultaneous health concerns. In such cases, it’s valuable to have a ‘quarterback’ overseeing potential medication interactions. Specialty pharmacists are often the perfect such quarterback to prevent and/or manage polypharmacy.

If you provide care for patients who take 8+ medications, or if you are a patient with multiple medications, there are resources available to support the successful management of polypharmacy. BioPlus proudly partners with ExactCare Pharmacy who makes it easier for patients to manage multiple medications, while enabling the healthcare organizations that care for them to achieve better outcomes.

Cancer and MS Up the Chances of Polypharmacy

Certain health conditions are more likely to be linked to polypharmacy, including patients facing cancer or multiple sclerosis.

Recently, a study of more than 700 cancer patients noted that nearly 3 out of 4 of these patients were at risk of drug-drug interactions and more than half of patients were taking at least one medication that was potentially inappropriate. Put simply, there are a lot of medications to track. In this study, 61% of patients were taking at least five medications before chemotherapy even started and nearly 15% were taking 10+. This study underlines the value of a point person (generally a pharmacist) to review the overall medication picture for patients with polypharmacy needs.

The situation holds true for multiple sclerosis, with a new study finding that patients with MS are prone to polypharmacy. This study also reviewed about 700 patient and found that more than half of MS patients experience polypharmacy.

As always, BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy is ready to partner with your office as the ‘fast & easy’ way to get your patients referred for the specialty medications they need while also providing support to manage polypharmacy.