BACKGROUND - Polypharmacy has not been defined for Crohn's disease.
AIMS - To determine the prevalence of polypharmacy, factors associated with polypharmacy, and consequences of polypharmacy in a Crohn's disease population.
METHODS - A review of 291 Crohn's disease patients was performed. Polypharmacy was defined as either minor (two to four medications) or major (> or = 5 medications). Clinical status was evaluated with the Harvey-Bradshaw index of disease activity (HBI) and the short inflammatory bowel disease questionnaire (SIBDQ).
RESULTS - Major polypharmacy was identified in 50% of patients. Crohn's disease patients on less than two medications at the intake visit had an HBI of 3.6 compared with 5.4 and 6.0 in the minor and major polypharmacy groups (P < 0.05). Similarly, patients on less than two medications had an SIBDQ of 60.3 compared with 55.7 and 53.4 in the minor and major polypharmacy groups (P = 0.11). Predictors of polypharmacy included age > 40 years (OR 1.9), duration of disease > 10 years (OR 2.0), and female sex (OR 2.5).
CONCLUSIONS - Polypharmacy is common in Crohn's disease and correlates with increased disease activity and decreased quality of life. Increasing age, increasing duration of disease, and female sex are associated with major polypharmacy. These findings emphasize the need for improved treatment algorithms to optimize Crohn's disease patient management.