Highlights Intake of four or more medications may be referred to as polypharmacy. Scientists have found that the use of too many medications among older adults may make them walk slower when compared to people who took fewer medications. Further research is however required to have a follow-up on the findings and to know about the effects of specific medications. Polypharmacy refers to the use of four or more medications by a patient. Multiple medications may increase the risk of falls, frailty, disability and even death. However, taking too many medications may not be essential for adults. Polypharmacy may also be a problem for older adults due to side effects or interaction that results from the use of different medications. Can Excessive Medication Slow Down Walking in Older Adults ? A new study has examined on how polypharmacy can affect walking. The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. ‘Older adults who take more than five medications may walk slower when compared to those who take fewer medications.’ Walking properly is a sign of good health for older adults. However, it may be affected by the use of multiple medications. Even though healthcare providers know that some treatment could slow or hamper the old person's ability to walk, only little is known about polypharmacy's effect. Research Study The research study aimed to examine information from 482 people who were aged 65 or older. These patients were enrolled in the "Central Control of Mobility in Aging" study. The main aim of the study was to find out how the changes in the brain and our central nervous system can occur during aging and how it could impact an older person's ability to walk. The research team confirmed the medications that the study participants were taking. They also defined polypharmacy as using five or more of these treatments. The physical health, mental well-being and the walking ability of the participants were examined during the start of the study and also at yearly follow-up appointments. During the evaluation, the research team also measured the participant's walking speed. None of them used walking canes or walkers. The participants were asked to walk normally on a 20-foot long walkway, and to walk while talking. The research team had interviewed the participants to know about their medical illness, brain functions and their ability to think and make decisions. Study Findings Out of the 482 participants in the study, the findings revealed that, 34% used five or more medications during their study period 10% used more than eight medications Polypharmacy participants were more likely to have hypertension, diabetes, heart failure and a history of heart attacks. These people had a risk of fall within last year and were found to be more overweight than people in the non-polypharmacy group. Besides chronic health problems, history of falls and other issues in the polypharmacy group. These people had a slower walking speed when compared to people in the non-polypharmacy group. Older adults who took more than eight medications had slower walking speed when walking while talking. The research team concluded that there might be a link between polypharmacy and walking speed. More studies are however required to follow-up on the findings and to learn about the effects of specific medications. The research team has also noted that during their check-ups, older adults were asked about the medications that they took, including herbal and over-the-counter supplements. And also suggested that the walking speed was measured during regular check-ups. References Claudene George et al, Polypharmacy and Gait Performance in Community-dwelling Older Adults, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2017); DOI: 10.1111/jgs.14957 Source: Medindia << Could Immune Responses to Gut Bacteria be Linked With Rheuma... Magnetic Oculomotor Prosthetics to Treat Nystagmus >> Recommended Reading Talking While Walking Could Increase Risk Of Falling In Elderly Talking while walking could increase risk of falling in elderly, particularly in the case of those with Parkinson's disease. READ MORE Elderly Patients Who Take Medications May Have a Higher Risk of Frailty Older adults take a number of medications to manage their health conditions, this may increase the risk of frailty, reveals study. READ MORE Body Types and Befitting Workouts Workout and diet which is well suited for a pear shaped body. READ MORE Drug Toxicity Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a drug, reaction to a drug or drug abuse. READ MORE Walking As An Exercise People walk for many reasons ranging from pleasure to mental relaxation, finding solitude or for exercise. READ MORE Walking for Fitness and Weight Loss A few extra steps a day are enough to keep you fit. READ MORE Who Else Wants to Know How Walking Helps Heart and Brain? Walking early morning would improve your health as it helps heart and brain to function properly. Find more about its benefits for your body. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Drug - Food Interactions Find a Doctor Accident and Trauma Care More News on: Drug ToxicityBody Types and Befitting WorkoutsHealthy LivingWalking for Fitness and Weight LossWalking As An ExerciseWho Else Wants to Know How Walking Helps Heart and Brain?