Too much of a good thing isn’t so much of a good thing, and this age-old pearl of wisdom holds true for many things in life – sleep, work, carbs, visits with the in-laws, you get the drift. But what you may not realize is that it applies to the contents of your medicine cabinet as well, and it’s up to your team at ZüpMed to help you consolidate for the greater good of your overall health.
Keep reading to learn how our ZüpMed pharmacists optimize your medications – and hey, you may even learn a few buzzwords to toss around at your next dinner party.
How Much Is Too Much?
We know – arguing that there may be a limit to how many medications and supplements you should take at any one time may feel a little counterintuitive to the facts that 1) modern medications have made people feel better for years, and 2) we are in the business of making people feel better. However, effective medication management isn’t as cut and dry as writing a prescription and sending it to the pharmacy.
Our thesis is this: the over-prescription of medications, supplements, and vitamins is a growing problem in the United States, and over-prescribed drugs without comprehensive oversight tend to do more harm than good in the long run. Here’s why.
Polypharmacy & Its Effects
According to recent studies, 38 million people in the U.S. are at risk of polypharmacy – so what does that mean, and why is it concerning? Polypharmacy refers to the over or unnecessary use of medications, supplements, and vitamins. While most doctors consider 5 or more prescriptions to be the marker for hitting the polypharmaceutical realm, it’s really more case-based.
That’s because not all medications play nicely together, and when used in tandem, some prescriptions could cancel each other out or cause additional problems that only build on a growing list of symptoms. That means a patient could fill a prescription for their cardiologist that negatively interacts with another from their gastroenterologist, or vice versa – and they might not even know it.
It is also because of the way certain drugs interact with you. Many things, from the way your body metabolizes drugs to the way your body naturally functions, can affect how well you respond to the “doctor’s orders.”
So what are we to do? Skilled pharmacists are trained to manage all your medications and keep you safe from potential harm, like:
- Adverse Drug Reactions: The more medications a person takes, the higher the risk of experiencing adverse drug reactions. These can range from mild side effects like nausea or dizziness to severe health problems such as internal bleeding or heart problems.
- Prescribing Cascades: This is a situation where the side effects of a medication are mistaken for a new medical condition, leading to the prescription of another medication. This can result in unnecessary medication use and an increased risk of adverse drug reactions.
- Decreased Quality of Life: Managing multiple medications can be stressful and can negatively impact a patient’s quality of life. This is particularly true for older adults who may struggle with complex medication regimens.
- Medication Non-Adherence: The more medications a person has to take, the more complicated their medication regimen becomes. This complexity can lead to medication non-adherence, where patients do not take their medications as prescribed, which can lead to worsened health outcomes.
How We Optimize Your Medications
No one wants the litany of dangers associated with polypharmacy, and as a founding member of the Get the Medications Right Insituture (GTMRX) Institute, Shannon and the ZüpMed team know a thing or two about how pharmacists can optimize your medications for the ideal use.
Through a process called “comprehensive medication management,” we use a team-based, person-centered and systematic approach to medications of all kinds to individually assess patients and determine the efficacy of their current medications.
Here’s what you can expect from the process:
- Medication Review: We’ll conduct a comprehensive review of all of your medications – prescription, non-prescription, alternative, nutritional, or supplemental – to make certain that everything you take is appropriate based on your individual healthcare needs.
- Optimization: Once we understand your starting point and determine what medications you actually need, we’ll recalibrate your medicine cabinet for the optimal effects so you can start benefiting from all aspects of your treatment rather than passing them straight through your system and out the other end.
- Confirm Safety: We’ll provide a holistic overview of your medications to ensure your regimen avoids any drug-drug or drug-condition interactions that may harm you.
- Involve Your Doctors: Unlike many other medical practices, we put in the extra effort to act as a liaison between you and your other doctors, even if they aren’t in our office, keeping your medications on one main track and helping you communicate your needs.
- Follow-Ups: After your visit, we’ll continue to monitor your medications so we know they’re working for you, not against you.
Optimize Your Prescriptions with ZüpMed
Remember, your needs are unique to you, and your treatment regimen should reflect that. To find out more about how we can help you get the most out of your medicine, keep an eye out for our future blog, walking you through the entire process. Until then, call us to learn more! 901-701-7010.