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Published: 2024-06-30

Evaluation of first hospital entry and hospitalization related prescription polypharmacy targeting patients of fifty years old and more at a general hospital, Duhok, Iraq: Polypharmacy in elderly patients

College of Pharmacy, University of Duhok, Duhok, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
College of Pharmacy, University of Duhok, Duhok, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
College of Pharmacy, University of Duhok, Duhok, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
College of Pharmacy, University of Duhok, Duhok, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
Department of Physiology, Biochemistry, and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Mosul, Mosul, Iraq; College of Nursing, The American University of Kurdistan, Duhok, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
Polypharmacy, Drug Interaction, Elderly, Prescription Medications, Disease Conditions, Iraq


Background: Polypharmacy is the intake of ≥ 5 medications. This study evaluates the prevalence of polypharmacy among elderly patients hospitalized during October 2023 at Azadi Hospital in Duhok, Iraq.

Methods: This was a retrospective cross-sectional study. The files of 373 patients aged ≥ 50 years were reviewed for the occurrence of polypharmacy (5 medications), major polypharmacy (6-9 medications) and excessive polypharmacy (≥ 10 medications) as well as their disease conditions.

Results: The 373 patients received 5 to 10 medications at first hospital entry, and during hospitalization (1-29 days), 220 (58.98%) of them received 5 to 12 medications. Cardiovascular disorders (44.04%) were the most encountered conditions in the hospitalized patients, followed by endocrine disorders (26.4%) and gastrointestinal disorders (8.14%). Polypharmacy occurred in 63 (16.89%) patients on the first day of hospital entry and in 73 (19.57%) during the hospitalization period. Major and excessive polypharmacy occurred among 90 (24.13%) and 2 (0.54%) of patients at the first entry and among 129 (34.58%) and 18 (4.83%) patients during the hospitalization, respectively. During hospitalization, polypharmacy significantly (Chi squared=22.655; df=1; p=1.9387˟10-6) increased by 17.43% when compared to that of the first hospital entry. The most commonly used medications at the first hospital entry were paracetamol (17.18%) followed by antibiotics (11.8%). During hospitalization the most commonly used medications were antibiotics (13.52%) followed by proton pump inhibitors (11.43%).

Conclusion: The prevalence of polypharmacy was high among elderly hospitalized patients. This condition might increase the risk of potential drug-drug interaction and the intake of inappropriate medications. Alerting clinicians about the significance of polypharmacy is necessary in prescribing and deprescribing medications to hospitalized elderly patients.


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How to Cite

Mijk KN, Alyas KH, Haji MH, Ali WK, Mohammad FK. Evaluation of first hospital entry and hospitalization related prescription polypharmacy targeting patients of fifty years old and more at a general hospital, Duhok, Iraq: Polypharmacy in elderly patients. jidhealth [Internet]. 2024 Jun. 30 [cited 2024 Jul. 23];7(3):1081-6. Available from: