Factors associated with polypharmacy and the prescription of multiple medications among persons living with HIV (PLWH) compared to non-PLWH.AIDS Care 2015; 27(12):1443-8AC
Persons living with HIV (PLWH) may be at increased risk for polypharmacy (≥5 concomitant medications) over non-PLWH, presumably due to antiretroviral therapy (ARV). Potential concerns associated with polypharmacy include clinically significant drug-drug interactions, adverse drug reactions, increased pill burden, and rising treatment-related costs. Our objective was to evaluate prescription of multiple non-ARV medications to PLWH, compared to non-PLWH, in US outpatient clinics and to identify factors associated with polypharmacy. Cross-sectional data from the 2006-2010 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey were used for this study. Visits for PLWH were identified using HIV ICD9-CM codes 042, V08, and 079.53. Patients < 18 years of age were excluded. Relevant demographics included sex, age, race/ethnicity, and insurance status, while comorbid conditions included hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. Multivariate logistic regression analyses evaluated factors independently associated with prescription of ≥ 5 medications. In total, 7,360,000 weighted visits for PLWH (13% aged 18-29 y; 55% aged 30-49 y; 32% aged ≥ 50 y) and 374,626,000 weighted visits for non-PLWH (18% aged 18-29 y; 32% aged 30-49 y; 50% aged ≥ 50 y) met study criteria. The greatest prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia was in those ≥ 50 years of age (p < .001 for all comorbidities in PLWH and non-PLWH). In 2006, 16% of PLWH were prescribed ≥ 5 medications, doubling to 35% in 2010. In 2006, 24% of non-PLWH were prescribed ≥ 5 medications, only increasing to 32% in 2010. Older age (30-49 y and ≥ 50 y) was associated with ≥ 5 prescription medications in PLWH (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 2.538, 95% CI; 1.31-4.918 and aOR = 2.703, 95% CI; 1.678-4.354) and in non-PLWH (aOR = 2.546, 95% CI; 2.235-2.9 and aOR = 5.208, 95% CI; 4.486-6.047), respectively. Prescription of multiple medications is on the rise in PLWH, more so than in non-PLWH. Additional research is needed to explore how prescription of multiple medications differentially affects younger PLWH vs. older PLWH.