It is recognised that medicines have an enormous positive impact on the lives of millions of people; however, polypharmacy is a significant, complex and growing issue affecting many. Polypharmacy is often linked to the taking of multiple medicines in older people. Yet, it can also affect a wider group including children and young adults, those from deprived backgrounds, people with mental health problems and those with learning difficulties. It occurs in a wide range of health and social care settings such as hospitals, hospices, care homes, prisons as well as in people’s own homes and the homeless. It is not an exaggeration to say that polypharmacy is a serious and significant public health challenge affecting populations where the number of people living into advanced years with multiple long-term conditions is increasing. 

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