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Understanding polypharmacy in Idaho

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

Almost 40% of people in Idaho who are over 65 take more than five prescription medications. Furthermore, about 20% take ten or more drugs. Experts call it polypharmacy when a person takes more medicines than are appropriate for their medical condition. There can be many side effects from polypharmacy. Medical professionals who fail to act when polypharmacy is an issue are committing medical malpractice.

Adverse drug reactions

Medications often interact with each other in unexpected ways. Therefore, when a person takes multiple drugs, their risk of problems increases. These problems may include cognitive impairment, gastrointestinal issues and poorer medical outcomes.

Medication errors

People who take multiple medications have a higher risk of making a mistake with their medications. For example, they may take two of the same pill when they are only supposed to take one and not take another one at all. Sometimes, these mistakes can have deadly consequences, while other times, the person may feel worse than if they did not take the medication.

Poor adherence to medication schedules

Statistics show that the more often a person must take medicine, the more likely they will forget to take it. Others get tired of taking their medication and choose to skip it altogether. Doctors prescribing multiple drugs must work with the patient to create a realistic schedule, or they may commit medical malpractice.

Increased risk of falls

Patients who take multiple medications are at an increased risk of falling. Some falls can result in death, while others result in people living in institutions. For some, a fall may mean they will have reduced mobility for the rest of their lives.

Polypharmacy occurs when a person takes more medicine than required for their medical condition, and doctors who do not consider the effects on the patient’s health can be charged with malpractice.