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Table 3 Numerical definitions of polypharmacy and associated terms by duration of therapy/ healthcare setting

From: What is polypharmacy? A systematic review of definitions

Term Number of medications Number of studies References
Polypharmacy ≥ 2 for > 240 days (long term) 1 [101]
  ≥ 5 medications in the same month 1 [103]
  > 5 medications for ≥ 90 days 1 [104]
  ≥ 5 medications in the same quarter of a year 1 [105]
  ≥ 5 medicines at hospital discharge 1 [106]
  5 to 9 medicines on the day of maximum number of prescriptions of the study year (on the day of the study year when the number of medications prescribed was highest) 1 [107]
  5 to 9 medications for ≥ 90 days 1 [108]
  5 to 9 medicines during hospital stay 1 [109]
  ≥ 10 medicines during hospital stay 1 [110]
Major polypharmacy ≥ 10 on the day of maximum number of prescriptions of the study year (on the day of the study year when the number of medications prescribed was highest) 1 [107]
Hyperpolypharmacy ≥ 10 medications for ≥90 days 1 [108]
Excessive polypharmacy ≥ 10 medications in the same quarter of a year 1 [105]
  ≥ 10 medications during hospital stay 1 [109]
Persistent polypharmacy ≥ 5 medications for 181 days 1 [52]
Chronic polypharmacy ≥ 5 medications in 1 month for 6 months (consecutive or not) in a year 1 [111]