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Mater Sociomed. 2012;24(2):68-72. doi: 10.5455/msm.2012.24.68-72.

Prevalence of polypharmacy and drug interaction among hospitalized patients: opportunities and responsabilities in pharmaceutical care.

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Department of Public health, Ministry of Health in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.



Polypharmacy and drug-related problems (DRPs) have been shown to prevail in hospitalized patients. We evaluated the prevalence of polypharmacy; and investigated relationship between polypharmacy and: symptoms of DRPs, number of drugs and OTC, index of cumulative morbidity, length of exposure to polypharmacy and the number of days of hospital stay among hospitalized patients.


A study was performed in Pharmacies "Eufarm Edal" Tuzla from 2010 to 2011. Polypharmacy was defined as using ≥ 3 drugs. The total study sample of 226 examiners were interviewed with special constructed questionnaires about DRPs. Experimental study group consisted of hospital patients with polypharmacy (n=166) and control group hospital patients without polypharmacy (n=60). Mann-Whitney test was used to test for significant self-reported symptom differences between groups and cross sectional subgroups, t- test and χ(2)- test for age, gender and treatment data in hospital.


The prevalence of polypharmacy was 74% among 226 hospitalized patients. The vulnerable age subgroup of hospitalized patients was men and hospitalized patients aged from 46 to 50 years (not geriatric patients). The prevalence of index of cumulative morbidity was 65%. The most common exposures varied by patient age and by hospital type, with various antibiotics, antidepressants, analgesics, sedatives, antihypertensives, flixotide, ranitidine and others. The prevalence of exposure to OTC and self- treatment was 80%. The prevalence of symptoms of drug-related problems were significantly differed among patients of experimental in relationship of control study group patients (P<0.001).


In addition to helping to resolve the above mentioned issues, the results from this study could provide baseline information quantifying the problem of drug- related problems among hospitalized patients receiving polypharmacy and contribute to the formulation and implementation of risk management strategies for pharmacists and physicians in primary care health.


hospitalized patients; index of cumulative; polypharmacy; primary pharmaceutical care.

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