Background: Polypharmacy is a growing public health problem occurring in all healthcare settings worldwide. Elderly patients with lumbar spinal canal stenosis (LSS) who manifest low back and neuropathic pain and have a high frequency of comorbidity are predicted to take many drugs. However, no studies have reported polypharmacy in elderly patients with LSS. Thus, we aimed to review the polypharmacy among elderly LSS patients with elective surgeries and examine how the surgical treatment reduces the polypharmacy. Methods: We retrospectively enrolled all the patients aged ≥ 65 years who underwent spinal surgery for LSS between April 2020 and March 2021. The prescribed drugs of participants were directly checked by pharmacists in the outpatient department preoperatively and 6-month and 1-year postoperatively. The baseline characteristics were collected beside the patient-based outcomes including Roland–Morris Disability Questionnaire, Zurich Claudication Questionnaire, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire (JOABPEQ). The cutoff number of drugs for polypharmacy was defined as 6. The prescription drugs were divided into 9 categories: drugs for neuropsychiatric, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine metabolic, and urinary renal diseases; blood products; pain relief medication; and others. Results: A total of 102 cases were finally analyzed, with a follow-up rate of 78.0%. Of the participants, the preoperative polypharmacy prevalence was 66.7%. The number of drugs 6-month and 1-year postoperatively was significantly less than the preoperative one. The proportions of polypharmacy at 6 months and 1 year after surgery significantly decreased to 57.8% and 55.9%, respectively. When the prescribed drugs were divided into 9 categories, the number of drugs for pain relief and digestive diseases was significantly reduced after surgery. The multi-variable analysis revealed that a higher score in the psychological disorder of JOABPEQ was associated with 3 or more drugs decreased 1-year postoperatively (OR, 2.5; 95% CI: 1.0–6.1). Conclusion: Polypharmacy prevalence was high among elderly LSS patients indicated for lumbar spinal surgery. Additionally, our data showed that lumbar spinal surgery was effective in reducing polypharmacy among elderly LSS patients. Finally, the multi-variable analysis indicated that better psychological condition was associated with the reduction of prescribed drugs after lumbar spinal surgery.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes