Cancer survivors that use multiple psychotropic medications are at an increased risk of psychotropic polypharmacy. We examined the association between psychotropic polypharmacy and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among cancer survivors living in the USA.
We used the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data for 2010, 2012, and 2014 to identify adult cancer survivors. Psychotropic polypharmacy was defined as use of at least two classes of psychotropic prescription medications. The physical component summary (PCS) and the mental component summary (MCS) were obtained from the 12-item Short Form Health Survey version 2 to measure HRQoL. Adjusted ordinary least square regressions were performed to evaluate the association between psychotropic polypharmacy and HRQoL.
Among 31 million US cancer survivors (weighted from a sample of 2609), 16.3% reported psychotropic polypharmacy. Lung cancer survivors had the highest prevalence of psychotropic polypharmacy (22.5%), followed by survivors of breast cancer (17.8%), colorectal, and other gastrointestinal cancers (16.0%). The unadjusted PCS and MCS scores for those with psychotropic polypharmacy were significantly lower than those without psychotropic polypharmacy, overall, and for each cancer type. In multivariable regressions, cancer survivors with psychotropic polypharmacy had significantly lower PCS scores (β = − 3.63, p < 0.0001) and MCS scores (β = − 2.28, p = 0.0138) compared to those without psychotropic polypharmacy.
Cancer survivors requiring multiple psychotropic medications have poorer quality of life.