Many people believe that drugs are evaluated by the government, and are therefore safe if taken under the guidance of competent doctors. However, even if you accept this, you should ask yourself – how might all that change if you take multiple drugs? For example, if you’re taking more than five different drugs, you’re risking dangerous interaction.
Below are 8 warning signs that you might be on to many medications.
Just being a patient and growing old with good health insurance means that you could be at risk for over-prescribing. Prescription drugs are there to heal or manage chronic health issues, but some patients are victims of something that is known as polypharmacy – taking too many prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication, plus supplements.
At this moment in time, nearly half of men and two-thirds of women over the age of 65 in the United States are on five or more medications, which is the accepted definition of polypharmacy. Sometimes patients get prescriptions that they don’t need, or two or more pills in their routine are interacting in dangerous ways.
2. You’re Seeing Several Doctors
People assume that their doctors are in direct and constant communication with each other and coordinating their care, but this is simply not the case, due to how busy doctors are now. For example, if a patient develops an issue with the stomach while being on a certain drug, he will need to be referred to a G.I. specialist. The G.I. specialist will then be obligated to run a number of tests. The patient subsequently might be placed on medication to treat the stomach issues. Suppose the patient then develops dizziness from the combination of the medication he is on, he will then be referred to a neurologist, who will also have to run a number of tests and might prescribe medication to treat the dizziness, and so on…!
A potential sign that someone might be taking too many medications is the onset of new symptoms that they might not have experienced in the past. Taking a number of different medications comes with the risk of dangerous interactions. These drug-drug interactions might lead to a number of various symptoms such as cognitive changes, gastrointestinal upset, weakness, heart palpitations, and even skin issues.
4. You Struggle to Keep up With Dosing
If you’re taking too many drugs, you might find it difficult to keep up with the scheduled dosing of each one. If it has started to become a huge unbearable onus to keep up with the frequency and timing of all your medications, that could be a signal that you’re on too many medications. If you think this is the case, schedule an appointment with your doctor to review your current list and determine what is necessary for your care.
Given that taking multiple medications is a risk in itself for emotional troubles, knowing the warning signs of depression is crucial. A very common side effect or symptom of being overprescribed is a depressed mood. Many patients will also become extremely tired and sedate while taking too many prescriptions at once.
6. You’re Under Increasing Financial Pressure
Prescribed drugs are not cheap. Therefore, another sign that you might be taking too many medications is a notably increased financial strain. You might notice over time that the amount that you’re now paying for your medications has increased significantly, due to the sheer rise in the number of medications that have been prescribed to you.
Your first priority is to make sure that all the medications that you’re taking are necessary. If they are, you should ask your doctor about generic versions of the drugs, which are cheaper than the brand names.
With some prescribed drugs, there’s the risk of addiction. If you think that you might be addicted to drugs, you should get in touch with your local drug treatment center, which has addiction experts who are trained to recognize the signs and provide the necessary help.
8. You Feel Your Meds Are Beyond Your Control
If you’re taking a lot of different medications, it’s crucial to have a system in place. For example, you could get yourself a pillbox and a weekly medicine chart to use as a checklist. You should include each medicine that you need to take, when you need to take it, and how often you need to take it.
You should get to know your medications as each one comes with specific instructions. For example, some medicines can cause problems if they’re taken too closely together, so a chart can help you space out when you take them. It will also help you avoid taking medicine that you have already taken.