Polypharmacy Side Effect Info | Know the Side Effects
RX Checker

Polypharmacy Data

Pol·y·phar·ma·cy (noun): the simultaneous use of multiple drugs by a single patient, for one or more conditions.

Polypharmacy is receiving increasing attention from the healthcare community and the public, as the population ages and takes a greater number of medications.

Interesting information about polypharmacy side effects…

  1. 46% of adults take prescription medications
  2. 16% of hospital admissions are related to reactions to medications
  3. Estimated 106,000 deaths annually from adverse drug reactions (versus 20,000 from illegal drugs)
  4. Over 4 billion prescriptions are filled annually
  5. Over $325 billion is spent on prescriptions annually, approximately 18% of healthcare costs
  6. Studies show that sometimes an adverse reaction to a drug goes unrecognized or misinterpreted, causing the healthcare provider to prescribe another drug, thus expanding the patient’s drug menu
  7. Estimated up to 50% of adults take one or more medications not medically necessary
  8. In older adults, ‘over medication’ is seen to increase physical/functional decline and cognitive impairment
  9. America’s hidden drug problem is ‘polypharmacy’; an estimated 15-25% of drug use in seniors is inappropriate or not necessary
  10. Medication related problems are estimated to be in top 5 causes of death in age group over 65
  11. Experts say patients frequently disregard and throw out drug information leaflets placed inside or stapled to their prescription bags
  12. Pharmacies miss half of dangerous drug combinations


The tendency is that once we start a drug, we never stop it. Individuals should do everything possible to manage their drug therapy and control medication related issues.

Rx Checker is a polypharmacy awareness tool that focuses not on critical chemical interactions, but on the possible cumulative, additive side effects of a patient’s drug menu that could negatively impact quality of life.

The goal is to increase knowledge and promote effective discussion between patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

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  1. 1, 2 – topmastersinhealthcare.com/drugged-america, 2012
  2. 3 – Journal of AMA, Starfield-Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 2000
  3. 4 – Kaiser Family -KKF.org 2014  /  statista.com 2014  /  topmastersinhealthcare.com 2012
  4. 5 – topmastersinhealthcare.com  2012
  5. 6 – American Nurse Today, Kathleen Woodruff, 2010
  6. 7, 8 – Clinical Consequences of Polypharmacy in Elderly HHS Public Access / 9-2013
  7. 9, 10 – American Society of Consultant Pharmacists  ASPCA Fact Sheet 2015
  8. 11, 12 – Pharmacies miss half of dangerous drug combinations, 2016