Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 193168, 8 pages
Research Article

Chronic Condition Clusters and Polypharmacy among Adults

1Department of Pharmaceuticals Systems and Policy, Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center (North), West Virginia University, P.O. Box 9510, Morgantown, WV 26506-9510, USA
2Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310-1495, USA

Received 20 April 2012; Accepted 19 June 2012

Academic Editor: Marjan van den Akker

Copyright © 2012 Ami Vyas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. The primary objective of the study was to estimate the rates of polypharmacy among individuals with multimorbidity defined as chronic condition clusters and examine their associations with polypharmacy. Methods. Cross-sectional analysis of 10,528 individuals of age above 21, with at least one physical condition in cardiometabolic (diabetes or heart disease or hypertension), musculoskeletal (arthritis or osteoporosis), and respiratory (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma) clusters from the 2009 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Chi-square tests and logistic regressions were performed to analyze the association between polypharmacy and multimorbidity. Results. Polypharmacy rates varied from a low of 7.2% among those with respiratory cluster to a high of 64.1% among those with all three disease clusters. Among those with two or more disease clusters, the rates varied from 28.3% for musculoskeletal and respiratory clusters to 41.8% for those with cardiometabolic and respiratory clusters. Individual with cardiometabolic conditions alone or in combination with other disease clusters were more likely to have polypharmacy. Compared to those with musculoskeletal and respiratory conditions, those with cardiometabolic and respiratory conditions had 1.68 times higher likelihood of polypharmacy. Conclusions. Rates of polypharmacy differed by specific disease clusters. Individuals with cardiometabolic condition were particularly at high risk of polypharmacy, suggesting greater surveillance for adverse drug interaction in this group.