Polypharmacy, the simultaneous use of multiple drugs, is becoming more common as the population ages. More than 30% of older adults in the United States take five or more drugs, typically for multiple chronic conditions.
How polypharmacy contributes to non-adherence
Polypharmacy’s complex dosing schedules and drug interactions can increase patient non-adherence. And the high costs of polypharmacy, driven by fill and refill frequencies, also contribute to non-adherence.
Adverse drug reactions (ADRs), whether from one drug or the interaction of several drugs, can cause patients to self-modify their therapeutic regimens. Polypharmacy patients have an 88% increased risk of ADRs. And the consequences of ADRs can be severe, with four hospitalizations per 1,000 individuals annually.
Solutions to polypharmacy non-adherence
To address polypharmacy non-adherence, providers need to take a patient-centric approach by creating realistic therapeutic regimens. This includes dosing schedules and treatment regimens that are convenient, while taking into account therapeutic objectives, treatment priorities, and patients’ financial resources.
Many pharmacies with polypharmacy patients are integrating medication synchronization programs into their workflow. Medication synchronization enables patients to fill multiple prescriptions all at once, typically on a monthly basis. A study by the National Community Pharmacists Association found that patients in medication synchronization programs were 21% less likely to discontinue their drug therapy.
Pharmacovigilance – the science of preventing ADRs – should be implemented to monitor drug safety, and ensure that patients are not self-modifying treatment regimens.
Artificial intelligence can play a critical role in addressing non-adherence. For example, AI can predict individual patient behavior and can help determine the best interventions to support a patient’s needs around polypharmacy.
AllazoHealth uses artificial intelligence to make a positive impact on individual patient adherence. We work with pharmacies and payers to optimize adherence programs and intervention workflows. The result: improved quality performance and clinical outcomes.