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Polypharmacy in pediatric patients and opportunities for pharmacists' involvement

Authors Horace A, Ahmed F

Received 18 March 2015

Accepted for publication 2 June 2015

Published 21 August 2015 Volume 2015:4 Pages 113—126


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Jonathan Ling

Alexis E Horace, Fahamina Ahmed

School of Pharmacy, College of Health and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, LA, USA

Abstract: Rates of chronic conditions among pediatrics have been steadily increasing and medications used to treat these conditions have also shown a proportional increase. Most clinical trials focus on the safety of solitary medications in adult patients. However, data from these trials are often times extrapolated for use in pediatric patients who have different pharmacokinetic processes and physical profiles. As research increases and more drugs become available for pediatric use, the issue of polypharmacy becomes more of a concern. Polypharmacy is defined as the practice of administering or using multiple medications concurrently for the treatment of one to several medical disorders. With the increased rates of diagnosed complex disease states as prescribed mediations in pediatric patients, the prevalence and effect of polypharmacy in this patient population is largely a mystery. Polypharmacy falls within the realm of expertise of specialized pharmacists who can undertake medication therapy management services, medical chart reviews, and other services in pediatrics. Pharmacists have the time and knowledge to undertake pertinent interventions when managing polypharmacy and can play a major positive role in preventing adverse events. The aim of this paper is to review the literature on pediatric polypharmacy and provide insight into opportunities for pharmacists to help with management of polypharmacy. Information on adverse events, efficacy, and long-term outcomes with regard to growth and development of children subject to polypharmacy has yet to be published, leaving this realm of patient safety ripe for research.

Keywords: polypharmacy, pediatrics, pharmacists, involvement

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