Addressing Multimorbidity and Polypharmacy in Individuals With Atrial Fibrillation

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Journal Article
Current Cardiology Reports, 2018, 20 (5)
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© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Purpose of Review: The objectives of this review were to (1) discuss how multimorbidity and polypharmacy contributes to the complexity of management among individuals with AF and (2) identify any interventions to manage polypharmacy in relation to AF. Recent Findings: Based on the four landmark clinical trials of novel anticoagulants, the most common comorbidities with AF are hypertension, heart failure, diabetes, stroke and myocardial infarction. Polypharmacy was also found prevalent in 76.5% of patients with AF, with a median of six drugs per patient. Despite the consequences of polypharmacy in AF, there is very little evidence-based intervention designed to manage it. Hence, there is a need for further research to examine interventions to manage polypharmacy in relation to AF. Summary: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia requiring treatment in adults. Due to the structural and/or electrophysiological abnormalities that occur in AF, patients are managed through the use of prophylactic anticoagulant and rate and/or rhythm control medications. However, these medications are considered high risk and can increase the chances of medication misadventure. Additionally, AF rarely occurs in isolation and is known to coexist with multiple other medical comorbidities, i.e. multimorbidity. This also increases the number of medications, i.e. polypharmacy and pill burden which results in treatment non-compliance to prescribed therapy.
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