Heidelberg, Germany—A follow-up after 8 years of a large German study of older adults, ESTHER (Epidemiological Study on Chances for Prevention, Early Detection, and Optimized Therapy of Chronic Diseases at Old Age), reports that polypharmacy appears to be a factor in frailty in older adults. The Brief Methodological Report, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, notes that patients who were at risk for frailty, as well as those who are already frail, were more likely to be in the polypharmacy or hyperpolypharmacy groups—defined as receiving from five to more than 10 prescriptions—compared with those who were not frail. Researchers from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg and colleagues also determined that older patients who took between five to nine medicines were 1.5 times more likely to become frail within 3 years compared with people who took fewer than five medications. At the same time, those who took more than 10 medicines were twice as likely to become frail within 3 years as people who took fewer than five.
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