In Emilia-Romagna at least 320 thousand patients take 6 or more medicines for chronic therapies. 80 thousand take 9 drugs a day, but there are also those who take 15. The most exposed population is the elderly, for whom the greatest demographic increases and the greatest consumption of healthcare resources and medicines are observed
5 December 2023 – The pill for blood pressure, for the heart, for osteoporosis, for diabetes, gastroprotectors, vitamin D. After a certain age it becomes almost the norm to have a long list of drugs to take for the treatment of chronic pathologies. There The population is aging, the elderly are increasingly numerous and with them the consumption of healthcare resources and medicines is growing. But is there really no alternative?
This was asked by professionals and experts in Bologna during the conference “Polypharmacy: challenges and tools”, organized by Emilia Romagna region in collaboration with the University of Bologna. The conference proceedings were opened by Luca Baldino, general director of personal care, health and welfare of the Emilia-Romagna Region.
It defines itself polypharmacotherapy the simultaneous use by a patient of different drugs for chronic pathologies. It is typical of people over 65 years old. The excessive use of different drugs can lead to the impairment of physical and cognitive functions and poorer adherence to treatments: in short, it can prove counterproductive for patients’ health.
In Emilia-Romagna there are 320 thousand patients who take 6 or more drugs for their chronic therapies: this is an underestimated figure, because it only takes into account treatments with more than 90 days of therapy in 2022 and does not include drugs for occasional use and those paid for by the citizen. There are approximately 80 thousand chronic patients who take 9 or more drugs a day hyperpolished. But there are also those who take more than 15 daily medications.
“The excessive consumption of medicines in general and, in particular, in the elderly represents a problem recognized by the scientific literature – comments the councilor for health policies, Raffaele Donini-. The use of many drugs at the same time increases the risk of contraindications or even hospitalization for adverse reactions. This is why occasions like these are fundamental, in which experts can question themselves on the appropriateness of treatments and share different tools and experiences with a multidisciplinary approach. We as a Region will never tire of favoring healthy lifestyles that can prevent many chronic diseases. Drugs are not the only answer to the question of health.”
The Emilia-Romagna Region and polypharmacy
During the conference, the topic of chronic therapies in elderly people is fundamental for the Emilia-Romagna Region. The appropriate management of polytherapies is one of the objectives of the general directorates of healthcare companies. Together with the request to start a multidisciplinary training course to improve the care of the frail elderly person following multiple therapies.
In the regional objectives, the management of polypharmacy must assume strategic importance in the areas hospitals e territorialimplementing “reconciliation” between the different specialist areas that take care of the patient, but cannot neglect the assisted healthcare residenceswhere the highest number of polytreated patients is recorded.
The themes of the conference (121.53 KB)