Heightened Risks of Polypharmacy in Older Adults

About the Course
While many prescriptions and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs may have few side effects when taken alone, the risks of an adverse drug event increases when a person is taking several different medications at the same time. These risks are even greater for older adults due to their decreased kidney and liver function as well as changes in body composition. This course reviews the risks of polypharmacy in older adults. Examples are provided of the different types of drug interactions, followed by examples of potentially inappropriate medications for older patients as stated in the Beers Criteria. Case studies are shared for interprofessional clinicians of various disciplines to include patient decline in function, nutrition, cognition, balance, and other signs and symptoms resulting from polypharmacy.

Learning Outcomes
  • Identify the overall risks of drug-related issues from polypharmacy with older people.
  • Recognize how aging significantly affects drug clearance.
  • Identify examples of drug-drug and disease-drug interactions.
  • Identify examples of drug-drug and disease-drug interactions.
  • Identify the risks of anticholinergics and antipsychotics with older people.
  • Identify the risks of anticholinergics and antipsychotics with older people.
  • Select the recommendations from the cited case studies to reduce the harmful risks of polypharmacy.

About the Author
Lisa Young Milliken, MA, CCC-SLP, FNAP, CDP has served as a practitioner, regional manager, vice president, consultant, compliance director and education specialist. She has lectured at the state and national level with over 300 professional education courses on topics of importance to the healthcare professional. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and has mentored team members in senior retirement communities for their development of effective non-pharmacological strategies and dementia program management. She also volunteers with community programs in the Houston area to support caregivers of family members living with multiple disorders. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, where she currently serves as a State Advocate for Medicare Policy for Texas. She is Vice President of Professional Services for the Texas Speech-Language and Hearing Association and also serves on the Financial Advisory Committee and the Publications Board of this organization. She is a Distinguished Fellow of Public Policy for the National Academies of Practice where she serves as the Co-Chair of the Forum Planning Committee and is a prior board president of the Louisiana Speech-Language and Hearing Association and an alumnus of the Council of State Association Presidents. Finally, she is a member of the Kingwood-Humble Aggie Mom Board and lives in Houston, Texas.

How to Receive Credit
  • Read the entire course online or in print.
  • Answer the final examination questions at the end of the course. A passing grade of 70% is required. Test questions link content to learning objectives as a method to enhance individualized learning and material retention.
  • Provide required personal information and payment information.
  • Complete the mandatory course evaluation.
  • Print your Certificate of Completion.

Resolution of Conflict of Interest
Colibri Healthcare, LLC implemented mechanisms prior to the planning and implementation of the continuing education activity, to identify and resolve conflicts of interest for all individuals in a position to control content of the course activity.

Sponsorship/Commercial Support and Non-Endorsement
It is the policy of Colibri not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

The information provided in this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition.

©2022: All Rights Reserved. Materials may not be reproduced without the expressed written permission or consent of Colibri Healthcare, LLC. The materials presented in this course are meant to provide the consumer with general information on the topics covered. The information provided was prepared by professionals with practical knowledge of the areas covered. It is not meant to provide medical, legal, or professional advice. Colibri Healthcare, LLC recommends that you consult a medical, legal, or professional services expert licensed in your state. Colibri Healthcare, LLC has made all reasonable efforts to ensure that all content provided in this course is accurate and up to date at the time of printing but does not represent or warrant that it will apply to your situation nor circumstances and assumes no liability from reliance on these materials. Quotes are collected from customer feedback surveys. The models are intended to be representative and not actual customers.