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Healthcare providers are looking at deprescribing medication whenever possible. Risks of taking too many medications include adverse drug interactions, can cause falls, cognition or memory loss, blood pressure complications and more. Deprescribing is the concept of decreasing the number of medications, including over the counter medications. Things to look for besides the drug to drug interactions are: duplication of therapy (two or more medications for the same issue), duration of benefit for each medication and of course cost.
There is a list of medications called the “Beers Criteria” which have higher risks of
side effects, especially for seniors. The list is long and these medications should be avoided. They include something simple like Benadryl or Tylenol PM, or complex like Ambient or Xanax or Ativan. Look up the list and compare it to what is in your medicine cabinet. Being proactive could prevent an emergency room visit, hospitalization or worse.
Be prepared for each and every visit to the doctor and have the discussion to see which medications are truly necessary based of efficacy, benefits, and potential side effects. You can get a free copy of the 2019 AGS Beers Criteria here. We all know our bodies change as we age. What we sometimes forget is that our bodies can become less able to process medications safely, leading to less benefit and more side effects. Take the time now to make a list of all medications you take and be proactive in your care!