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Taking Too Many Medications Can Negatively Affect Your Health

Taking Too Many Medications Can Negatively Affect Your Health

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As the population ages the number of medications they are taking also increases. Polypharmacy is the simultaneous utilization of different meds.

While there are quite often well-meaning plans behind this—treating a few incessant conditions at the same time, for instance—it can cause reactions and even extra health concerns. Seniors, who are bound to take a wide range of prescriptions, are at the most astounding danger of adverse impacts from Polypharmacy.

While you should not stop taking medicine on account of this without your specialist’s confirmation, you can play a functioning job in guaranteeing that you diminish any conceivable dangers.

Impacts

While a medication might be prescribed to you on account of a particular intended purpose, drugs don’t act in separation in your body system.

Polypharmacy represents a few concerns:

•       Excessive known reactions, especially for the older, as sensitivities to prescription increment with age

•       Additive reactions when a few drugs prompt comparative physical reactions

•       Dangerous drug interactions, which may generate new reactions not commonly connected with either medicine

•       Diminished adequacy of one medicine because of the metabolic activity of another prescription

•       Confusion concerning prescription use, bringing about missed portions, additional dosages, or different blunders

Why It Occurs

Polypharmacy is common these days. Frequently, seniors or individuals with numerous medical issues need to take a few meds to control different ailments. While these prescriptions, exclusively, might be justified, there are times when the quantity of medications recommended for a given issue is more than is vital. There are an assortment of different reasons Polypharmacy can happen too, including:

•       Prescribing falls: If you have multiple health conditions, you may encounter what is depicted as an “prescribing  fall,” in which you are given a solution to balance reactions of another prescription or to check a communication between at least two other recommended drugs.

•       Disconnected medical care: This is bound to happen in the event that you or your cherished one is cared for several  specialists, including doctors or physicians who may just observe you for a short  timeframe, for example, during an urgent hospitalization. One specialist may give you a solution that mixes or balances the impact of a prescription you already take, especially if you are getting care at an alternate healthcare center than usual.

•       Pharmacy changes: If you fill your presciptions at various drug stores, none are probably going to have a total rundown of your prescription routine (except if you have visited different areas of a pharmacy store chain). Collaborations between drugs may go unnoticed when the blend would have raised a warning in the event that you were getting the majority of your solutions from a similar spot.

Prevention from Polypharmacy

Polypharmacy can be overseen as a team collaboration between healthcare specialists, patients, and families.

American pharmacist with senior woman in pharmacy

What best you can do:

•       Pick a point person: Be sure to choose an primary care professional or a geriatrician with whom you are comfortable and plan regular meetings with this practitioner. Normally, when you see a doctor, your primary care specialist gets a discussion note, alongside all new prescription recommendations, from your expert. When you see your primary care specialist, he should know the majority of your medicinal issues, which other specialists you see, and which other drugs you take. This specialist can perceive signs and side effects of polypharmacy and can stop excess or superfluous meds in the event that you are taking any.

•       Keep track of drugs: List out the majority of your meds and supplements, and survey it normally for vital updates. Convey this rundown to every one of your appointments and show it to your primary care specialist as well. Approach them to check the rundown for any possible complications and remember to talk and discuss about all of your medical symptoms, as some may be side effects of your prescriptions.

•       Talk to your drug specialist: Pharmacists are trained to search for any drug interactions and different issues, yet they can possibly do that on the off chance that they have all your data. Give them your medicine list and request that they look it over. This is particularly vital in the event that you get your prescriptions from more than one drug store.

•       Don’t stop taking medication without consulting from your doctor. Your doctor might prescribed more than one heart or diabetes prescription since one isn’t sufficient to control your condition. While Polypharmacy can be destructive, medication adherence is vital as well.

Anyone can become confused by the medical terminologies and instructions, especially when taking several medications for many health problems. If that’s the case for you, it’s advisable to consult a good patient navigator.

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Age-Related Changes To The Response Of Drugs

Strategies for Reducing Polypharmacy in Older Adults

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Polypharmacy refers to the impact of simultaneous use of different medications consumed by a person to manage co-existing health problems, such as diabetes and hypertension. Often use of multiple medications becomes problematic, there are many patients prescribed with several medicines by different healthcare providers. Furthermore, drug reaction can also take place if healthcare providers are unaware of a patient’s complete medication state.

Polypharmacy in Older Adults

Among older adults, polypharmacy is common. Above the age of 65, people consume almost 34% of remedy medications and purchase 40% of over-the-counter (OTC) and often take at least five medications per week.  12% of both men and women take more than 10 medications a week.

Rather than using the multiple dosages, finding the right medication in the right situation and for the shortest period of time can provide much safer and effective solutions to improve the quality of the patients’ health.  This article explores the problems related to polypharmacy in elderly patients, including age-related changes in response to drugs, drug-drug and drug-herbal interactions with the medication routine. The article also covered the strategies to lower these risks.

Age-Related Changes To The Response Of Drugs

Elderly people react to the medications differently than younger ones.  Although the change in age doesn’t impact the absorption rate of the drugs, aging usually changes the body fat and water composition. With the alteration, the water composition decreases and the body fat increases which results in causing higher concentrations of water-soluble drugs and longer half-lives of fat-soluble drugs.

Digoxin and few other drugs are bound to plasma proteins so that the free portion of the drug is active. The decrease in serum albumin level is common in elderly people with chronic illness, severe debilitation or malnutrition which can lead to higher drug blood levels.

Use Of Dietary And Herbal Preparations Without A Prescription

Dietary supplements and herbal preparations have become popular. Ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, echinacea, ginseng, garlic, saw palmetto, kava, and valerian root are some supplements that are popular for their purported use in preventing or treating various health problems; viz., depression and the common cold. They are available over-the-counter (OTC), so patients don’t even consider taking advice from a doctor or other healthcare providers. Therefore, before taking such supplements with the prescribed medications be sure about the impact of the reaction as it can lead to serious adverse effects.

Unfavorable Reactions To Drugs

The effects of drugs vary in older adults as compared to the younger patients. As per the calculations, 35 % of the old generation suffers from the unfavorable therapeutic effect per year and 29% of such reactions require hospitalization and physician’s care.

There are times, adverse reaction to one, goes unrecognized or misinterpreted, causing the healthcare provider to subscribe to inappropriate medications for the condition.

Nurse’s Role in Reducing Medication Risks in Older Adults

The nurse can be a crucial part in helping older patients manage their medication and prevent polypharmacy. The inputs to lower the risk of polypharmacy are summarized below:

  • Nurses should keep a complete list of the medical provider along with their contact information, such as dosages, dosing frequency, and the reason for taking the drug.
  • The nurse should have the complete list of medical providers and their contact information.
  • They should guide their patients with possible solutions to avoid the adverse effects of the drugs.
  • Nurses should let their patients know about the importance of taking medications in a correct manner.

Other Methods To Reduce Polypharmacy Risk and Medication problems

Health care providers should explore non-pharmacologic alternatives to drugs, such as dietary alterations. Nevertheless, having information about the effective therapies in elder patients is also a context of concern. Healthcare providers must evaluate and balance a drug’s potential adverse effects against its potential benefits to recognize the suitable approach for an elder patient.

The advancement in information technology like electronic medical records, electronic laboratory records, and electronic prescribing are innovative ways to decrease the risk of adverse drug reactions and interactions. There are several guides applicable in the industry which can help older adults to have an independent and improve their medication management.


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