Original Publication
Open Access

Polypharmacy in Older Adults (Out of Print)

Published: January 9, 2007 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.278

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Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications. This publication is out of print as it contains expired content and/or no longer aligns with MedEdPORTAL policies.


This resource consists of three virtual patient modules. The first patient has hypertension, atrial fibrillation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and venous insufficiency. The patient recently began to take St. John’s wort, which can have detrimental interactions with medications she takes for her conditions. The second patient is diagnosed with congestive heart failure and has a history of balance disorder, back pain, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypothyroidism, and hypertension, all of which complicate her treatment. The third patient has venous insufficiency that was previously misdiagnosed as congestive heart failure, leading to inappropriate medication use and side effects. In addition, she has a history of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, subaortic stenosis, osteoarthritis, urinary incontinence, and left femoral vein thrombosis, and is on several medications for these conditions.

Educational Objectives

By the end of these virtual patient modules, learners should be able to:

  1. Describe and evaluate diverse definitions of polypharmacy.
  2. Identify the characteristics and circumstances that place elderly patients at risk of polypharmacy.
  3. Recognize consequences of polypharmacy in the elderly.
  4. Develop processes to identify and mitigate polypharmacy and to prevent its occurrence.

Author Information

  • Eric Orton: University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine

None to report.

None to report.


Orton E. Polypharmacy in older adults (out of print). MedEdPORTAL. 2007;3:278. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.278