Avoiding harm from overprescribing: What are the challenges and how do we overcome them?

Lauren E. Walker, Arduino A. Mangoni

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

4 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Increasingly complex and innovative medicines are a significant contributor to the extended life expectancy that we currently enjoy in the United Kingdom (83 years for women and 79.4 years for men). The proportion of people living with multimorbidity, the co‐existence of two or more long‐term health conditions, increases substantially with age which in turn promotes the increased use of medications. Today, the average 70‐year‐old takes an additional two tablets each day compared to 10 years ago. Combinations of medications prescribed for multiple long‐term conditions often have unintended consequences, including harms through drug–drug and drug–disease interactions. An example of where this can be particularly harmful is in those with both physical and mental health conditions. Extensive evidence links cardiovascular mortality with psychiatric illness and metabolic disturbance caused by antipsychotic medications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-8
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • overprescribing
  • long-term conditions
  • unintended consequences
  • Drug-drug interactions
  • drug-disease interactions
  • cardiovascular mortality
  • Antipsychotic medication


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