Terminally ill face polypharmacy

Twenty-one of the patients were taking nine or more medications; the overall median was seven. The review included only patients over 65. Those aged 66—74 years took a median of 10 medications compared with seven for those aged 75 or older.

Within 72 hours of admission, 67% of the medications had been ceased.

The results are outlined in a letter in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia. The authors said they wrote to highlight “a need for vigilance in identifying polypharmacy in the terminally ill”.

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