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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2017, Article ID 6026358, 8 pages
Research Article

Polypharmacy among Underserved Older African American Adults

1Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU), Los Angeles, CA, USA
2University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA, USA
3Mental Health Research Center, Tehran Institute of Psychiatry, School of Behavioral Sciences and Mental Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4Keck Graduate Institute, School of Pharmacy, Claremont, CA, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Mohsen Bazargan; ude.uwerdc@nagrazabneshom

Received 10 February 2017; Revised 4 April 2017; Accepted 12 April 2017; Published 23 May 2017

Academic Editor: F. R. Ferraro

Copyright © 2017 Mohsen Bazargan 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.


The purpose of the present study was to examine correlates of polypharmacy among underserved community-dwelling older African American adults. Methods. This study recruited 400 underserved older African Americans adults living in South Los Angeles. The structured face-to-face interviews collected data on participants’ characteristics and elicited data pertaining to the type, frequency, dosage, and indications of all medications used by participants. Results. Seventy-five and thirty percent of participants take at least five and ten medications per day, respectively. Thirty-eight percent of participants received prescription medications from at least three providers. Inappropriate drug use occurred among seventy percent of the participants. Multivariate analysis showed that number of providers was the strongest correlate of polypharmacy. Moreover, data show that gender, comorbidity, and potentially inappropriate medication use are other major correlates of polypharmacy. Conclusions. This study shows a high rate of polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medication use among underserved older African American adults. We documented strong associations between polypharmacy and use of potentially inappropriate medications, comorbidities, and having multiple providers. Polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medications may be attributed to poor coordination and management of medications among providers and pharmacists. There is an urgent need to develop innovative and effective strategies to reduce inappropriate polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medication in underserved elderly minority populations.