Polypharmacy in chronic kidney disease: Health outcomes & pharmacy-based strategies to mitigate inappropriate polypharmacy

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American Journal of the Medical Sciences


The rising prevalence of comorbidities in an increasingly aging population has sparked a reciprocal rise in polypharmacy. Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have a greater burden of polypharmacy due to the comorbidities and complications associated with their disease. Polypharmacy in CKD patients has been linked to myriad direct and indirect costs for patients and the society at large. Pharmacists are uniquely positioned within the healthcare team to streamline polypharmacy management in the setting of CKD. In this article, we review the landscape of polypharmacy and examine its impacts through the lens of the ECHO model of Economic, Clinical, and Humanistic Outcomes. We also present strategies for healthcare teams to improve polypharmacy care through comprehensive medication management process that includes medication reconciliation during transitions of care, medication therapy management, and deprescribing. These pharmacist-led interventions have the potential to mitigate adverse outcomes associated with polypharmacy in CKD.

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