Are you taking too many medications?

Peer into your pillbox: It may be time to streamline your drug regimen.

Published: November, 2020

Medication regimens often start simply, perhaps with a multivitamin and a single prescription drug to treat a chronic condition. But with age and more health problems, a regimen may grow to include additional prescription drugs and dietary supplements (such as vitamin D and calcium), plus over-the-counter medicines to reduce symptoms such as pain or heartburn. In time, you can find yourself facing a crowded pillbox and a complicated regimen.

"Among people age 62 to about 85, a third will take five medications per person. In the higher-risk population that I take care of, those people average 15 medications per person. And some of the dialysis patients take about 20 prescriptions," says Joanne Doyle Petrongolo, a pharmacist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

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