Publication Date



Cardiology Research


Patients with heart failure (HF) have a high prevalence of polypharmacy, which can lead to drug interactions, cognitive impairment, and medication non-compliance. However, the definition of polypharmacy in these patients is still inconsistent. The aim of this scoping review was to find the most common definition of polypharmacy in HF patients. We conducted a scoping review searching Medline, Embase, CINAHL, and Cochrane using terms including polypharmacy, HF and deprescribing, which resulted in 7,949 articles. Articles without a definition of polypharmacy in HF patients and articles which included patients < 18 years of age were excluded; only 59 articles were included. Of the 59 articles, 49% (n = 29) were retrospective, 20% (n = 12) were prospective, 10% (n = 6) were cross-sectional, and 27% (n = 16) were review articles. Twenty percent (n = 12) of the articles focused on HF with reduced ejection fraction, 10% (n = 6) focused on HF with preserved ejection fraction and 69% (n = 41) articles either focused on both diagnoses or did not clarify the specific type of HF. The most common cutoff for polypharmacy in HF was five medications (59%, n = 35). There was no consensus regarding the inclusion or exclusion of over-the-counter medications, supplements, or vitamins. Some newer studies used a cutoff of 10 medications (14%, n = 8), and this may be a more practical and meaningful definition for HF patients.


Heart failure, Older patients, Polypharmacy



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