- Ulcerative colitis (UC) flare-ups are more likely in patients with the disease who take multiple medications.
Why this matters
- About one-third of patients with UC have major polypharmacy, taking ≥5 medications for other health conditions.
- Clinicians should consider polypharmacy in UC management and take steps to minimize unnecessary medications.
- Researchers analyzed the health records of patients with UC treated at a tertiary medical center outpatient clinic (N=457), exploring associations between the major and minor polypharmacy (taking ≥5 or 2-4 non-UC medications, respectively) and the outcomes such as disease flare, therapy escalation, UC-related hospitalization, and surgery within 5 years of the first encounter.
- Funding: None.
- Polypharmacy rates overall were 29.8% (major) and 40.9% (minor).
- Associated factors included increased age (P<.001 female sex functional gastrointestinal disorders and psychiatric disease>
- Major polypharmacy was significantly associated with increased risk for disease flare (OR, 4.00; 95% CI, 1.66-9.62) after adjusting for age, sex, functional GI disorders, and psychiatric disease.
- Major polypharmacy was not associated with increased therapy escalation, hospitalization, or surgery.
- The study was retrospective and single center, did not show causation, and did not account for clinical disease activity or endoscopy scores.