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Too Many Meds May Be More Problem Than Cure
Date:11/3/2011

as 65. Today, it's thoroughly realistic that a patient will only have to take two pills a day."

In the meantime, De Monte and Tomaka suggested a few steps people can take to make sure the multiple medications they are on don't cause more problems than they cure:

  • Take each medication with water. If you add an acidic beverage, like fruit juice or soda, to the mix, it's just one more thing for your medication to interact with.
  • Read all the information provided about any medication, either prescription or over-the-counter, looking for potential problems that might crop up for you.
  • Review your medication list with your doctor and pharmacist.
  • Report symptoms that occur once you begin taking a new medication.

In the end, dealing with polypharmacy entails some work on the part of patients because only they know about their specific health condition and how each medication makes them feel.

"Medications are tools," Tomaka said. "We have to get away from looking at drugs as anything other than a tool used to help repair a patient's body. The key is working with your physician on your specific condition and realizing that one size does not fit all."

More information

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has more on the safe use of medications.

SOURCES: Sophia De Monte, R.Ph., Nesconset, N.Y.; Norman P. Tomaka, B.Pharm., Melbourne, Fla.; Prescription Drug Trends, Kaiser Family Foundation, May 2010; June 2009, Annals of Long-Term Care


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