POLYPHARMACY AMONG ELDERLY – ORAL ASPECTS BACKGROUND – The incidence of chronic diseases that require pharmacological treatment increases with age. For a number of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, treatment regimens consisting of a combination of several drugs (polypharmacy) are often initiated. Many elderly people have several chronic diseases at the same time (polymorbidity), and therefore often take multiple medications. Polypharmacy increases the risk of side effects and interactions, especially in the elderly, where age-related changes in the absorption, distribution and elimination of drugs additionally increase the risk of developing drug-induced health problems, e.g. xerostomia and reduced saliva secretion.
CASE STUDY – This case describes a 69-year-old woman who develops problems with back pain and then develops a series of comorbidities that lead to polypharmacy. The latter results in pronounced xerostomia and hyposalivation, oral discomfort and disease, weight loss, social isolation, depression, weakness, and reduced quality of life.
CONCLUSION – This case study shows the importance of managing oral disease conditions associated with medication-induced hyposalivation, and not least the importance of contacting the patient's physician for a medication review/ deprescribing for possible elimination of the cause.