is she over medicated?

My mom is not herself, but who could be when taking 19 different medications a day for various conditions? Is she over-medicated? Probably, but her doctor has prescribed and is very aware of every pill she takes. Which pill or pills would mom want to give up, as she has been reassured that each is necessary in itself? Her doctor seems to become indignant when she questions him about this.

A friend in the retirement home she lives in was talkative and vivacious. In the last few weeks this woman has become withdrawn and shaky. She had complained of headaches and is now taking medication to alleviate the pain, but at what price? Where is the Nancy we knew?

Drugs do save lives, treat symptoms and alleviate pain but how does one deal with the psychological side effects? According to Health Watchers’ News and Views in a November 2010 article, “Experts estimate that up to one-third of the elderly in our communities may be over-medicated and some 20% of their hospital admissions are due to adverse drug events. The costs related to over-medication in the elderly are thought to exceed $80 billion each year.”

Help me help my mom. What has been your experience with over medication in a loved one and how have you approached/confronted her primary physician? I could use some guidance as I tackle this seemingly delicate, but also crucial and common situation. Written by girlfriend in Iowa, Susan


2 thoughts on “is she over medicated?

  1. Some insurance policies will cover a yearly medication review with a pharmacist, so it might be worth looking into that. Below is the website for the School of Pharmacy at Univ. Of WA. I know it might not directly apply, since you’re in Iowa, but it’s worth a read through. Maybe there are programs like that in your area. My understanding is that a pharmacist would speak w/ you and your mother about your concerns, review her meds, and then contact the prescribing physicians to suggest possible changes. Worth a try!

  2. Hi there,
    I am sure my mother is on too many meds. Partly, it makes a huge difference what the meds are. My mom has been on narcotic pain meds for arthritis pain for many years. My sister and I have spent a great deal of time researching drugs and our mom even had to go into the hospital at one point to get her meds straightened out after a series of hospital stays when her meds were changed. I am doing a series right now, on my blog, about seniors and medicine. Take a look.

    Sadly, there really aren’t any shortcuts to dealing with medicines and, in the end, even though we’ve done tons of research, my sister and I still wonder whether we’re making good recommendations to our parents. By the way, I think my mom’s on about 16 meds, so I know what you mean.
    Hang in there.

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