10 Tips for Prevention of Polypharmacy!

Polypharmacy is characterized by drug duplication, interaction, or both. The good news is, you can prevent it yourself with a little education and preparation. Here are some simple tips for avoiding polypharmacy:

1.      Always read labels. They may tip you off to possible drug interactions

2.      Use only one pharmacy to fill prescriptions

3.      Learn your medications by name and what they are for

4.      Make a list of all your medications including pill strength and dose, as well as herbal products, vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs. Update it after every doctor visit

5.      Carry your medications list everywhere. Bring it every doctor visit, along with the pill bottles

6.      If you have more than one doctor, make sure each one knows what the other is prescribing

7.      Ask your primary caregiver or pharmacist to run your medication list through a drug interactions database to identify possible problems, especially if you’re on five or more drugs

8.      Avoid combination products such as cold formulas. Ask your pharmacist to help you find a product just for the symptoms you’re experiencing – not for every possible symptom

9.      Never take a new drug without asking your pharmacist about its side effects and interactions with other drugs

10.    Get familiar with your medications. Learn about them from your physician or pharmacist, or learn to use a Physician’s Desk Reference, available in your local library. Books about prescription drugs are also available at your local bookstore. Don’t trust the internet; much of the information available on-line is from questionable sources

 Source: http://www.noah-health.org/en/pharmacy/drugs/polypharmacy.html


15 Responses to “10 Tips for Prevention of Polypharmacy!”

  1. another technique to use if you don’t have a list of your medications generated or with you is to utilize the “brown bag” technique. that is, when you are going to see your doctor, pharmacist, or going to the hospital/emergency room, put all of you medications in a bag so that you can have them with you including your prescription details and and any possible adverse side effects can be discussed and monitored.

  2. jen07aggies Says:

    i see this brown bag technique many times a night when i am working triage in the emergency room. people of all ages come in with huge plastic bags, even small suitcases filled with all their prescription meds, otc meds, vitamins, etc. you would be amazed at the number of medications/pills that some people take. many patients don’t even know why they are taking them, who prescribed them, or what they are used to prevent/treat, or even the dosage instructions. it is crazy what people will put into their body without even really knowing what they are doing to it or what long term effects they are causing.

  3. jen07aggies Says:

    also, in addition to medicine lists and the brown bag technique, there are also people that wear “dog tags” around their neck or bracelets that have all important information about their health engraved, incase they are in bad accident or unable to communicate to healthcare providers, all the information is there…..this can come in really handy during a trauma situaton when decisions are needed to be made quick and drugs are needed asap-

  4. And…..children and grandchildren of elderly people….please keep in touch with your family members on a regular basis. Ask them questions as to how they’re feeling and if they’re taking their meds and, especially, if they’re taking them correctly. Their lives may depend on it.

  5. Very true, momof2. You hear all too often on the news about an elderly person passing away in their home and no one knowing until long after. Keeping in touch with them is so important not only to see if they are ok, but like you said, to inquire about what they are taking and if they are taking them correctly. You could possibly prevent something horrible from happening, as well!
    Also, if you are able, go with them to their doctor appointments and discuss their medications and side effects with their doctor. The more people involved the better!

  6. Great advice!

  7. As a person who takes 5 medications per day, this information is both informative and helpful toward avoiding problems with my own medications.

  8. Carmin Urquizo Says:

    very helpful and simple tips for prevention. thanks

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