The Dangers of Polypharmacy

Polypharmacy is the use of five or more medications, and is associated with a number of health risks, including adverse drug reactions, falls, and poor compliance with medical advice. Polypharmacy is a special risk in the older population, since seniors account for a disproportionate use 3of prescription and over-the-counter medication. As people live longer, they often have multiple chronic conditions, which lead them to fall prey to the poor outcomes associated with polypharmacy.

To minimize the risks of polypharmacy, follow these 3 tips:

1. Keep a complete, up-to-date list of every medication, including supplements

Adverse drug reactions don’t only occur with prescription medications. Over-the-counter medications and vitamin or herb supplements can also interact with prescription medication or with each other. In addition, any type of medication or supplement may be contraindicated for certain chronic conditions. For example, if someone is on an anticoagulant (better known as a blood thinner), they need to avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, all of which increase the chance of bleeding.

Only by keeping a complete, up-to-date list of every medication, however harmless that medication may seem, can an older person be able to avoid adverse drug interactions. And keeping the list is not enough: the list should be shared with every health care provider the person sees.

2. Use one pharmacy for all prescriptions

Pharmacists are trained to look for drug interactions. But they can only do it if they know what medications a person is taking. However, 40% of seniors use more than one pharmacy for their prescriptions, making this task all but impossible.

To ensure the best outcomes, a person should use only one pharmacy, and share their medication list with the pharmacist.

3. Conduct regular medication reviews

A review of medication should take place monthly, as well as after every provider visit. There are several tools available for reviewing medications, including the Beers criteria, the Screening Tool of Older Persons Potentially Inappropriate Prescriptions (STOPP), and the Screening Tool to Alert doctors to the Right Treatments (START). Each of these tools helps identify medications that interact with each other, are unnecessary, redundant, or are contraindicated for use in the elderly population.

At Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Lakewood, NJ, keeping proper track of medications is just a small part of the care we take to ensure our residents are healthy and happy. Atlantic Coast is a beautiful nursing home and rehab center, situated on beautifully landscaped grounds. Atlantic Coast provides the comfortable and pleasant living experience that is essential to ensuring optimal clinical outcomes. We have strived to create an environment and program that truly enhances quality of life, thus promoting recuperation, health, and well-being.

Our modern facility features spacious living spaces that are impeccably decorated and furnished. Our residents are pampered with the finest amenities, including free WIFI, flat screen cable television and state-of-the-art mechanical beds for individualized comfort.

Our master chef and the entire staff of culinary experts prepare delicious meals to please even the most discerning palates. Our meals are not only delicious, they are also elegantly served, using fine china and utensils. In addition, we have a registered dietician to supervise the process to ensure that all meals conform to the individual dietary restrictions and requirements for every resident.

At Atlantic Coast, our goal is to offer recreational activities that stimulate both mind and body. We fashion each day’s recreation schedule with the primary purpose of encouraging social interaction and promoting physical health and fitness. To accommodate different interests and personal preferences, our Activities Director designs flexible schedules, with a variety of stimulating and engaging activity options.

Atlantic Coast is conveniently located in scenic Lakewood, NJ, close to major medical centers and just minutes from area highways.

Read our reviews on,, and to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 732-364-7100, or by clicking here.

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