Archives Of Gerontology And Geriatrics, vol.98, no.2022, pp.104553, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
Objectives: A preserved ambulation is one of the keypoints for functionality and polypharmacy, a common problem in older adults, is associated with worse functional status. Our aim was to examine the associations of polypharmacy with certain physical performance measures used to evaluate ambulation.
Methods: This retrospective, cross-sectional study was conducted in a geriatric outpatient clinic. Using ≥5 medications was accepted as polypharmacy. Usual gait speed (UGS), chair sit-to-stand test (CSST), timed up and go test (TUG) and short physical performance battery (SPPB) were performed to assess physical performance status. We created two models for logistic regression analyses: Model 1 was adjusted for age, sex and body mass index (BMI). We added comorbidities to Model 1 and further created Model 2.
Results: There were 392 participants (69.1% were female, mean age: 73.9±6.2 years). Polypharmacy was seen in 62.5%. Participants with polypharmacy presented with a poor physical performance compared to the no-polypharmacy group (p<0.001, for each). In multivariate analyses, polypharmacy was independently associated with poor SPPB (Odds Ratio (OR)=2.5; 95% Confidence Interval (CI)=1.3-4.7 and OR=2.4; 95% CI=1.2-4.8 for Model 1 and 2, respectively) and long CSST (OR= 2.6; 95% CI=1.3-5.2 and OR=3.7; 95% CI=1.7-8.2 for Model 1 and 2, respectively). There was a significant association between polypharmacy and slow UGS in Model 1 (OR=1.9; 95% CI=1.0-3.5); but relationship did not persist after adding comorbidities into the first model (OR=1.6; 95% CI= 0.8-3.1). There was no significant association between long TUG and polypharmacy in any of the models.
Conclusion: Polypharmacy is well-known with its association with falls and fractures in older adults and this might be explained by its association with poor physical performance. Whether polypharmacy causes a deterioration in physical performance is an issue needs to be enlightened by further longitudinal studies.