Mixing Prescription Medicines Can Be Harmful to Seniors’ Health

As we age, it is common for multiple health issues, treatable with prescription drugs, to creep into our lives. Without even knowing it, many seniors suddenly find themselves on multiple doses of a wide array of medications.

Research has shown, however, that taking a large variety of drugs can have harmful consequences. According to Health Research Funding, the practice of taking many different prescription drugs together can lead to visits to the emergency room: as many as 700,000 such visits last year alone.

Multiple medicines can lead to serious side effects, such as falling down, insomnia, feeling nervous or agitated, poor memory, confusion, poor appetite, and even depression.

Furthermore, HRF says that older people are more likely to be prescribed multiple medicines to treat multiple health issues than younger people. In addition, 40 percent of elderly people who live on their own are prescribed five or more different medications.

The HRF calls the practice of taking a large number of prescription drugs simultaneously “polypharmacy.” According to the HRF, people between the ages of 65 and 69 take an average of 14 different medications. Over the age of 80, the number rises to 18 medicines on average. That is why bad reactions are so much more common among the truly elderly.

One way to reduce the chances of serious side effects arising is to carefully monitor how the patient is reacting to the medicines. Any adverse reaction, even the slightest, should immediately be reported and dealt with, before it escalates into something more serious, and even life-threatening.

Of course, preemptive diagnosis can be helpful as well.  That is why as a patient is admitted, Dry Harbor’s medical staff conducts a complete review of what medications are being taken, keeping an eye open to possible drug interactions that could be causing problems for the patient.