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Table 4 Descriptive definitions of polypharmacy and associated terms

From: What is polypharmacy? A systematic review of definitions

Term Definition Number of studies References
Polypharmacy Patients visiting multiple pharmacies to obtain medications 1 [112]
  Coprescribing multiple medications 1 [113]
  Simultaneous and long term use of different drugs by the same individual 1 [77]
  Polypharmacy definition ranges from the use of a large number of medications, to the use of potentially inappropriate medications, medication underuse and medication duplication 1 [114]
  Potentially inappropriate medications 2 [10, 79]
  Use of multiple medications concurrently and the use of additional medications to correct adverse effects 1 [115]
  Use of medications which are not clinically indicated 1 [116]
  More drugs being prescribed or taken than are clinically appropriate in the context of a patient’s comorbidities 1 [12]
Appropriate polypharmacy Optimisation of medications for patients with complex and/or multiple conditions where medicine usage agrees with best evidence 1 [117]
Rational polypharmacy and indiscriminate prescribing Rational polypharmacy recognizes legitimate prescribing and indiscriminate prescribing suggests inappropriate prescribing (the terms “legitimate prescribing” and “inappropriate prescribing” were not explained) 1 [118]
Pseudopolypharmacy Patients being recorded as taking more medications than they are actually taking 1 [119]