07 Aug 2023

What to do if your elderly relative is being overmedicated:

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How are the elderly  overmedicated?

They are seeing several specialists in addition to their primary physicians.The specialists never talk with each other, and never ask what medications their patient is already taking. As a result, the elderly can be prescribed more than a dozen medications, plus drugstore supplements. This includes medications with the same functions. My stepmother was prescribed a blood thinner from her primary physician, and another blood thinner from her cardiologist.

Too many cooks spoil the broth.  Too many doctors can spoil the patient’s life.

If you suspect that your relative is being overmedicated, here’s what you can do:

1) Make a list of all the medications the relative is taking. The list could include what the medicine is for, and what its generic name is (along with the brand name).
2) If you aren’t sure about all the names and functions of the medicines, have a discussion with your local pharmacist and take notes.
3) Document the concerns about the overmedication. Are they based on observations of behavior? Complaints and symptoms? Scary lab results? Is the condition  persisting, despite the medicine?
4) Ask for the primary to contact the specialist about the medications.
5) Keep complaining until the situation is resolved to your satisfaction. It’s easy to give up when navigating portals, voice menus and giving the same information over and over. Keep going. You might be saving your relative’s life.



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