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Polypharmacy in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Prevalence and Outcomes

Polypharmacy in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Prevalence and Outcomes in a Single-center Series

Francisco Mesonero, Cristina Fernández, Eugenia Sánchez-Rodríguez, Ana García-García Paredes, Carla Senosiain, Agustín Albillos, Antonio López-Sanromán

Published in: Journal of clinical gastroenterology, March 2022.


Background: Polypharmacy can complicate the course and management of chronic diseases, and has been little explored in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to date.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of polypharmacy in a series of IBD patients, describing associated factors and its correlation with poor disease outcomes. Materials and Methods: Retrospective study of a single-center series. Polypharmacy was defined as the simultaneous use of 5 or more drugs. Disease outcomes, IBD treatment nonadherence and undertreatment were evaluated at 1 year.

Results: A total of 407 patients were included [56% males, median age: 48 y (interquartile range, 18 to 92 y)], of whom 60.2% had Crohn’s disease; Chronic comorbidity and multiple comorbidities were present in 54% and 27% of patients, respectively. Median number of prescriptions per patient was 3 (range: 0 to 15). Polypharmacy was identified in 18.4% of cases, inappropriate medication in 10.5% and use of high-risk drugs in 6.1% (mainly opioids). In multivariate analysis, polypharmacy was associated with chronic comorbidity [odds ratio (OR)=10.1, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.14-47.56; P˂0.003], multiple comorbidities (OR=3.53, 95% CI: 1.46-8.51; P=0.005) and age above 62 years (OR=3.54, 95% CI: 1.67-7.51; P=0.001). No association with poor disease outcomes was found at 12 months. However, polypharmacy was the only factor associated with IBD treatment nonadherence (OR=2.24, 95% CI: 1.13-4.54, P=0.02).

Conclusions: Polypharmacy occurs in around 1 in 5 patients with IBD, mainly in older adults and those with comorbidity. This situation could interfere with adherence to IBD treatment and therapeutic success.


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