Association between polypharmacy and health-related quality of life among US adults with cardiometabolic risk factors

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Purpose: There are known associations between cardiometabolic risk factors and polypharmacy; however, there is no evidence about how polypharmacy among adults with cardiometabolic risk factors impacts their health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The main objective of this study was to assess the association between polypharmacy and HRQoL among adults with cardiometabolic risk factors living in the USA. Methods: Individuals age ≥ 18 years with at least one of the three cardiometabolic risk factors (diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension) were identified from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey 2015 data. We defined polypharmacy as use of at least five classes of prescription medications. Physical component summary (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS) were obtained from the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey version 2 to measure HRQoL. We conducted adjusted ordinary least-square regressions to determine the association between polypharmacy and HRQoL. Results: We identified 7621 (weighted N = 80 million) adults with at least one cardiometabolic risk factors of whom 46.9% reported polypharmacy. Polypharmacy was noted in 29.7% of those with hypertension, whereas 82.4% of those with all the three cardiometabolic risk factors had polypharmacy. The unadjusted mean PCS and MCS scores for those with polypharmacy were lower than those without polypharmacy. In the multivariable regressions, we found that adults with polypharmacy had significantly lower PCS scores (β = − 4.27, p < 0.0001) compared to those without polypharmacy, while the MCS scores between those with and without polypharmacy were no longer significantly different. Conclusion: Surveillance of use of concurrent prescription medications is warranted so as to improve physical functioning in this vulnerable group.

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Quality of Life Research