advertisement

Meds and you

04 November 2011

People taking too many meds

Barely a week goes by, it seems, without some company announcing a new pill designed to help you live a longer, healthier life.

Barely a week goes by, it seems, without some company announcing a new pill designed to help you live a longer, healthier life.

Polypharmacy

  • Drug interactions. Drugs can work against each other in strange ways, and the more medications added to a daily regimen, the greater the risk for an interaction that could affect the person's health.
  • Drug compliance. Trying to keep track of multiple medications can become too much of a burden, causing people to give up trying to comply with the directions for medication use. "We've found that compliance drops 40% when you add a second drug to a patient's regimen, even if they are both once a day," Tomaka said. A lack of compliance to prescription directions can create a serious health risk. "For example, if you use blood pressure medication sporadically, you may set your blood pressure up to become drug resistant," he said. Sporadic use of antibiotics can cause infectious bacteria to develop immunity to medications.
  • Side effects. Every medication a person takes comes with its own risk for side effects. Multiple prescriptions and remedies mean a multiplied risk. And once side effects occur, it can be more difficult to track down the problem. "Sometimes those drugs can mask each other's symptoms," Tomaka said. "If you get an adverse reaction, you don't know which one caused it. Then you have a quandary."

  • 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.

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.