Q: My 77-year-old mother takes up to 12 different prescription medications every day. Is this dangerous?
A: Any number of medications, (prescription, non- prescription or supplements) can be dangerous. The combination of multiple medications, the overall health of a senior, his or her daily habits, hydration, diet, consistent weight and many other things may cause medications to be more problematic.
It can be assumed that the more medications a senior takes, the more likely there can be medication related problems. In nursing homes or long-term care facilities, patients receiving more than 8 medications are more aggressively reviewed for potential medication related problems.
Additionally, patients receiving medications in certain therapeutic classes are required to be monitored by facility nursing staff for side effects and response. The facility's consultant pharmacist then review these results and sends recommendations for dosage or medication changes to the patient's attending physician.
Today many senior care pharmacists provide similar reviews for patients who take multiple medications and who continue to live independently in their homes, assisted living or retirements centers.