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Dangerous Drug Interactions: Medicines at War Within the Body

If Mom or Dad is taking prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, there are probably negative side effects from each of the drugs. But there may also be more dangerous effects if they take five or more medications, because the drugs may conflict and, basically, go to war against each other, while also damaging otherwise functioning body organs and systems.

Your parents may have prescriptions from different physicians who are unaware of other medications prescribed by other doctors. Additionally, they may fill prescriptions at different pharmacies or online. Such is the possible foundation for the internal conflict and damage.

Polypharmacy Defined

The battle, known as polypharmacy, is estimated to cause the death of 100,000 older adults each year.

But, as caregiver, you have the unique ability to identify possible polypharmacy in your Mom or Dad and, by taking specific steps, can correct or eliminate the condition.

The average older adult takes five or more prescriptions drugs each day. In addition, many elderly people take various over-the-counter medications, such as antacids, laxatives or painkillers, which are often used without informing their physician. Each drug, while created to treat or correct a specific medical problem, will cause side effects and many times serious, negative and even life-threatening conditions.

Polypharmacy also includes:

  • Having even the correct and compatible prescriptions, but missing proper dosing of one or more.
  • Having even the correct and compatible prescriptions while also taking over-the-counter medications or, having a drink of alcohol or a beverage like coffee.
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