Association of polypharmacy with occurrence of loneliness and social isolation among older adults

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Background
Polypharmacy is increasing. The longitudinal association of polypharmacy and social isolation has not been previously reported. The aim of this study was to explore longitudinal associations of polypharmacy with loneliness and social isolation among older adults.

Methods
Participants aged 60 years and above in southern Sweden were invited for participation. A total of 1526 and 2556 participants were included in the separate analyses for loneliness and social isolation. Polypharmacy was defined as taking five or more medications. Associations of polypharmacy with occurrence of loneliness and social isolation were estimated using logistic regression models.

Results
During follow-up, 409 and 414 participants developed loneliness and social isolation, respectively. The odds for loneliness occurrence were higher for participants with polypharmacy compared to participants without polypharmacy (OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.05–1.78; P = 0.020). For participants without polypharmacy, the probability of developing loneliness was 0.28 (95% CI, 0.25–0.31), while for those with polypharmacy this probability was 25% higher (0.35; 95% CI, 0.30–0.39). The odds for social isolation occurrence were higher for participants with polypharmacy compared to participants without polypharmacy (OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.02–1.64; P = 0.036). For participants without polypharmacy, the probability of developing social isolation was 0.16 (95% CI, 0.14–0.18), while for those with polypharmacy this probability was 18% higher (0.19; 95% CI, 0.17–0.22).

Conclusions
Polypharmacy was associated with loneliness and social isolation occurrence among older adults. Consideration of loneliness and social isolation are warranted when caring for older adults taking multiple medications.
Originalspråkengelska
Artikelnummer105158
TidskriftArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Volym116
DOI
StatusPublished - 2024

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Geriatrik

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