October 14, 2015

Even Doctors Complain about Polypharmacy

I suggest that you read this blog by Val Jones, MD. She tells the story of polypharmacy better than I can. The points she raises include:
  • Patients are notorious for non-adherence
  • Policy wonks say that more than half of patients do not take their medications as directed
  • Missed opportunities to control chronic illnesses cost us billions of dollars and millions of quality life years annually

The reverse is just as serious:
  • The costs of polypharmacy (over medication) is not known or discussed
  • The unwanted side effects and medication interactions (both known and unknown) can be devastating
  • An astonishing number of these incidents (falls and injury accidents) are related to drug side effects

Important factors to consider:
  • There are costs to not taking medicines
  • There are costs to taking medicines
  • It is unknown how many injuries are accidentally prevented by patient non-adherence

This doctor considers it a victory each time she reduces the number of medications her patients use. What I like about this is she is not a geriatrician, but thinks like one. You should read her blogs on her website here.

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