Monday, March 30, 2015

Evils of polypharmacy for oldies

I hate the word "seniors"--makes me think of high school. But Ginah Nightingale, PharmD, assistant professor in the Dept of Pharmacy Practice at Thomas Jefferson University in Philly, likes the term and says every senior's medicine cabinet probably contains scores of pill bottles.

When a cancer diagnosis comes into the mix, the possibility of interactions becomes even more complex.

She admits, however, that there is a lot we don't know about inappropriate medication use for seniors with cancer.

Her findings were published in the J of Clin Oncology, Mar 23, 2015.

Sixty percent of cancers occur in people over age 65.

In this study, a multidisciplinary team  of oncologist, geriatrician, clinical pharmacist, social worker, and dietitian looked at the pharmacy of 234 seniors.

Forty-three percent were taking more than 10 medications, and 51% were taking inappropriate meds.

They pointed out that even an able-bodied and minded adult could not keep track of 10 meds.

This assessment is now a baseline, the researchers say, for trying to customize medications for older cancer patients.

I am back to my usual admonition--ask your doctor about each med--what does this do and do I really need this?

You would think THEY would stay on top of it, but they don't.

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