Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Too Many Drugs?

The New York Times article titled "The Poisonous Cocktail of Multiple Drugs" illustrates a fairly common occurance for many patients, taking multiple prescription medications. Known as polypharmacy, patients have many different medications prescribed by multiple doctors who don't know what the other one wrote. As a result, these patients, unfortunately, are at higher risk for having medication side effects or interactions.

As people live longer with more chronic illnesses, their care becomes more complex. This is why patients may find it valuable to have one primary care doctor coordinate care and ensure that the treatments rendered by various specialists are compatible with each other. The other is having technology like the free web-based eRx Now system to help busy doctors check different medications for drug interactions and track a person's treatment.

Without either of these interventions, the case of the 78 year old lady who passed out from a stomach ulcer due to the combination of aspirin, ibuprofen, and Celebrex, will undoubtedly continue.

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