The key to preventing polypharmacy is to be aware of what you are taking and to talk to a health care professional. Start with these tips from the 2009 Health Alliance Plan.
- Always read labels.
- Use only one pharmacy to fill prescriptions. We suggest a local pharmacy where you can develop a relationship with the pharmacist.
- Learn your medications by name and what they are for.
- Keep a list of all medication, including vitamins and over the counter medication. Update it after each visit to the doctor.
- If you have more than one doctor, familiarize each doctor with your medications.
- If you are on 5 or more drugs, ask your pharmacist to run your medication list through a drug interaction database, or identify any potential problems.
- Avoid combination products. Ask your pharmacist to find a medication that treats one symptom, not every possible symptom.
- Never take a new drug without asking your pharmacist about side effects and interactions with other drugs.
- Get familiar with your medications. Learn about them from your physician and pharmacist. You can find information on prescription drugs from the local library or bookstore.
For more tips about polypharmacy, contact Preferred Care at Home.
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