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Staying Healthy

What you need to know if you’re taking multiple medications

June 01, 2016

To stay on your regimen, you'll have to be organized and learn about each of your drugs.

multiple medications safety
Many older adults take five or more prescription medications, increasing the risk of harmful drug interactions.
Image: Comsstock/Thinkstock

Taking several types of medications can be challenging. But this is something you have to get right. If you don't, you may have unwanted side effects, or you may not properly treat your chronic condition. "I see people who average 15 medications, and it's very difficult for them to juggle that many pills," says Joanne Doyle Petrongolo, a pharmacist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

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