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Video: Dr. Glenn Hirsch | Overmedication of older patients

Published on February 1, 2018

Half of people age 65 and older are on five or more medications. In addition to cardiovascular disease, older patients have multiple co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, abnormal cholesterol, etc. So as they get older, they get more and more medications piled on.

The more pills someone takes, the more likely they are to not take them – either not taking them as prescribed or not taking them at all. And there’s also a higher likelihood of one medication having an interaction with another medication.

It’s always important if you’ve been hospitalized or have been diagnosed with a new disease to talk to your doctor about the possibility of de-prescribing medication. It’s important to ask:

  • “What do I really need to take?” 
  • Do I need the same quantity and dosage I’m used to taking?”
  • “What is the medication really going to prevent?” It could be preventing symptoms that are no longer an issue for you. For example, you could still be taking a stool softener that you were prescribed while in the hospital, but no longer need.