Preventing Polypharmacy in Older Adults

Kathleen Woodruff MS, CRNP


Am Nurs Journal. 2010;5(10) 

In This Article

Other Ways to Reduce Medication Problems

Where appropriate, healthcare providers should explore nonpharmacologic alternatives to drugs, such as dietary changes. However, know that underprescribing of effective therapies in older patients also is a concern. Healthcare providers must evaluate and balance a drug's potential adverse effects against its potential benefits to identify the appropriate approach for an older patient.

Advances in information technology, such as electronic prescribing, electronic medical records, and electronic laboratory records, are innovative ways to decrease the risk of adverse drug reactions and interactions. Technology-driven integrated prescribing systems and administration-alerting systems are being explored to address these problems. Also, the relatively new field of human-factors engineering focuses on the design of human-machine interfaces and is directly applicable to helping older adults stay independent and improve their medication management.