Polypharmacy in a semirural community in Chile: Results from Maule Cohort

Ximena Oyarzún-González, Catterina Ferreccio, Erin L. Abner, Claudio Vargas, Andrea Huidobro, Pablo Toro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although polypharmacy in younger populations is a growing public health concern, most studies addressing polypharmacy focus on elderly populations. Thus, polypharmacy is not yet well understood in younger populations. Methods: Baseline data from the Maule Cohort (MAUCO) (adults aged 38-74 years) were used to study the prevalence of polypharmacy and associated participant characteristics using logistic and zero-inflated negative binomial regressions. Factors studied include age, sex, self-rated health, education, smoking, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic conditions. Results: Polypharmacy was reported by 10% of participants overall, with higher prevalence among older (≥60 years) vs middle aged (<60 years) participants (overall: 20.9% vs 6.0%, P <.0001; for those reporting any medication use: 30.2% vs 15.9%, P <.0001). Middle-aged adults reported different patterns of medication use by polypharmacy status, while older adults reported similar medication use patterns regardless of polypharmacy. Diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular diseases, hypothyroidism, and osteomuscular diseases were significantly associated with polypharmacy. Analyses also revealed that there are MAUCO participants who are potentially being undertreated for conditions like depression. Conclusions: Research into medication use among younger and middle-aged adults and development of possible tools to deprescribe medications in this population are warranted. However, it is important that patients who need treatment receive it, and so both potential overtreatment and undertreatment need further study in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-315
Number of pages10
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the MAUCO participants for their time and assistance and to the MAUCO team: Sandra Cortés, Claudia Bambs, Vanessa Van de Wyngard, Johanna Acevedo, Fabio Paredes, Pía Venegas, Paz Cook, Macarena Garrido, Pablo F. Castro, Claudia Foerster, Jill Koshiol, Juan Carlos Araya, Francisco Cruz, Alejandro H. Corvalán, Andrew F. Quest, Marcelo J. Kogan, Sergio Lavandero, Javiera Alvarado, Natalia Arenas, Katherine Brito, Claudia Dinamarca, Cristián Herrera, Fernando Herrera, Cintia Illanes, Sandra Jara, Karin Mancilla, Patricia Morales, Ian Reyes, Diego Romero, Daniela Poblete, Loreto Ponce, Silvana Reyes, Cristián Pinto. This work was funded by the Chilean government through the National Commission for Scientific & Technological Research (CONICYT) for Research Centers in Priority Areas (FONDAP) [grant number 15130011] and from FONDECYT Project [grant number 1170395].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • cohort
  • pharmacoepidemiology
  • polypharmacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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