Polypharmacy can lead to many hospital admissions
and it is something we can do now for our health!
In the U.S. research has shown that nearly 30 % of hospital admissions are caused by patients mixing up or making mistakes with their drug use. Polypharmacy, defined as taking 5 or more associated drugs, is a major health concern as over half the adults aged 57-85 years were taking five or more medications, which could be a mix of:
- over-the-counter (OTC) remedies,
- or dietary supplements.
This has become a major cause of death and surely one that can be tackled with information, cooperation and management by patients, carers and medical professionals.
What you can do now is:
Patients and/or their carers should, on their behalf:
List ALL drugs and their dosage levels that are being consumed by each individual patient.
Make sure that all medicines, including:
- over the counter or
- dietary aids are listed and given to the doctor or medical team/ specialists.
- Mention what medications you may take e.g. for flu or colds etc. or going to the dentist etc.
They should check with their doctor that the drugs being taken by each patient is:
- Still required to be given
- Being given in the correct amount
All doctors, each patient attends, should be given this list of medications.
You can try to manage your prescription medicines in a better way.
Speak to your pharmacy and see if they can package these more effectively for you.
Use a medication box to sort out your daily drugs and times for taking these
Ask you doctor and pharmacist, if they have not already done so, to discuss what medications you require to help you, the patient , and so understand their importance.
This is known to improve the chance of patients following instructions and toreduce risks from poor interactions with other medicines.