Prescription drugs can work wonders for people who are ill. They can reduce symptoms and help people lead more fulfilling lives unencumbered by their illnesses. But over-reliance on medications can be dangerous and even deadly. When one prescription results in side effects that are treated with a different drug, which itself causes new side effects, and so on, it’s not hard to see how polypharmacy can become a huge problem. After a while, it may be difficult to know which drugs are even working, and which ones are causing more harm than they’re preventing.
There are some precautions every patient should take to avoid medication-related injury. Establishing these habits can help you keep track of your medications, and may help you avoid serious complications.
- Understand why the medication is being prescribed. A key distinction to make regarding prescriptions is whether they’re being offered as a preventative treatment or as a means of controlling symptoms of an existing condition. A medication that prevents illness may be more important than one that merely treats a symptom.
- Keep track of which medication is doing what. Especially when patients are taking multiple medications, it may be necessary to keeping a running list of the medicines that are being taken, and what they’re being taken for. If the side effects are worse than the symptoms the medicine is intended to treat, it may be worth considering whether the medication is worth it.
- Consider alternative approaches to treatment. The more medications a patient is taking, the more opportunities they have to interact with each other in unexpected and possibly unpleasant ways. If the pharmaceutical regimen seems unsustainable, a discussion of alternative treatment options may be necessary. Periodic re-evaluations of your prescriptions can prevent unnecessary use.
If you have suffered injury as the result of a medication error, including an error resulting from polypharmacy, contact the experienced southern California medical injury attorneys at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire.