When should iatrogenic polypharmacy be considered a disease?

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This case of an elderly patient taking 17 medications, who presents with new neurological symptoms, raises multiple philosophy of medicine questions, including, What is a disease? And what would it mean to treat iatrogenic polypharmacy? Polypharmacy can obscure whether a patient like the one in this case has a neurological disease. I argue that, insofar as polypharmacy is likely to have caused, or at least contributed to, this patient’s symptoms, her physician should treat it as a disease.




Wieseler, C. (2018, December 1). When should iatrogenic polypharmacy be considered a disease? AMA Journal of Ethics. American Medical Association. https://doi.org/10.1001/amajethics.2018.1133

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