Medicines have had an enormously positive impact on the lives of millions of people, however sometimes taking too many medicines can cause problems for the people using them. We call this problematic polypharmacy.
This can happen when medicines prescribed aren’t right for the person anymore, when the harm of using the medicine outweighs the benefit, when using multiple medicines causes harm or cause practical difficulties for the person using them.
There is a need to tackle problematic polypharmacy because it is a growing problem. People are taking more and more medicines, sometimes leading to problems and this will cause strain to the National Health Service, healthcare professionals and risk to the people taking them.
We have developed guidance to outline the size of the challenge of problematic polypharmacy,highlight the good work being done to address it and make clear recommendations to organisations and individuals involved with medicines as part of the care of the people they serve.