What is Polypharmacy?
Polypharmacy is the use of multiple drugs to treat a single condition or the simultaneous use of multiple drugs for one or more conditions. Often it includes more medication than is clinically indicated. Some drugs are simply prescribed to counteract the side effects of others.
Emergency Room Visits
Taking multiple medicines often leads to administration errors resulting in emergency room visits and sometimes death. Patients take the wrong amount, on the wrong day, or the wrong time of day.
Furthermore, drugs can interact poorly with specific foods and supplements.
Number of Prescriptions Increase with Age
The likelihood of additional prescriptions increases with advancing age. Adults aged 65 to 69 are prescribed an average of 15 scripts per year and people 80 to 84 years are prescribed an average of 18.
Additionally, each medical specialist (heart, diabetes, orthopedic) may focus on their area of expertise without looking at the bigger picture.
Tips for Medication Management
Fortunately, there are ways to be proactive with medication management. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind:
- Use one general internist or a family practitioner to coordinate polypharmacy or assist in reducing the number of medications to be taken.
- Keep an updated list of prescribed medications and over the counter (OTC) drugs to show the doctor and pharmacist at each visit.
- Stick with one pharmacy and don’t hesitate to ask questions at the pharmacy counter.
- Use pill organizers with the days of the week or the times of the day OR a pill bottle that has a built-in clock that unlocks when it’s time for the dose.
- Use technology for medication reminders. Implement a smart phone, tablet or voice assistant for reminders.
- Use natural remedies for pain as much as possible.
Please SHARE these tips to prevent medication error accidents. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe from adverse drug events!
What are your thoughts? Please use the comment box below…
Do you think drugs are over prescribed?
Do you think older adults are targeted by the pharmaceutical companies?
How do you keep track of medications?