Overall, polypharmacy in MS patients is still a largely underexplored topic. The term is commonly used when a patient takes 5 or more medications daily, with polypharmacy rates of up to 59% reported for patients with MS [1-7]. Polypharmacy is more likely in older-age MS patients, those with co-morbidies and those with greater disability [2-4]. Polypharmacy is also correlated with cognitive deficits, increased hospitalization, higher relapse rates and a lower quality of life [2].

Younger patients may also take multiple medications daily [3]. In a cross-sectional cohort study of 131 women with MS in Germany, the mean age of patients was 36.4 years [3]. They were taking an average of 4.2 drugs daily, with 41% on 5 or more medications. Potentially dangerous drug interactions were significantly more frequent in the latter group (31.5% vs. 5.2% in patients without polypharmacy, p<0.001). Especially with regard to unplanned pregnancies in MS patients, polypharmacy and drug interactions pose significant health risks; 12 of the 26 clinically relevant drug interactions that were recorded included at least one active substance that would be contraindicated in pregnancy [1,3].

Effective networks between physicians and pharmacists would help to improve individual medication management of MS patients [2].


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