Poetry, polypharmacy, and other stories . . .

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h1983 (Published 22 April 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1983
  • “By the banks of the silvery Tay

  • Folk are taking 10 medicines a day:

  • There are too many polypharmacists

  • And it’s high time we called an armistice.”

Minerva assumes the poetic mantle of William McGonagall to convey the worrying findings of a Tayside study—between 1995 and 2010 the proportion of adults dispensed five or more and 10 or more drugs doubled to 20.8% and tripled to 5.8%, respectively. The proportion with potentially serious drug-drug interactions more than doubled to 13% (BMC Medicine 2015;13:74, doi:10.1186/s12916-015-0322-7). For further glorious poetry and song about this, don’t miss James McCormack’s Bohemian Polypharmacy (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp3pFjKoZl8).

Most people experience an increasing treatment burden as they near the end of life, and it also becomes more difficult to know who is supposed to be doing what. Exploring the experiences of 24 patients (aged 48-85 years) with 15 different types/sites of cancer and palliative care needs, Southampton researchers find that …

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