BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuTaking multiple medicines safelyPolypharmacyIf you take more than one medicine, it is important to take them carefully and safely. Some medicines can interact and cause side effects. It can also be hard to keep track of when and how to take each medicine.Here are tips to help you keep track of your medicines and take them as directed.Why you may Need More Than one MedicineYou may take more than one medicine to treat a single condition. You may also take different medicines to treat more than one health problem. For example, you may take a statin to lower your cholesterol, and a beta-blocker to control your blood pressure.Older adults often have more than one health condition. So they are more likely to take several medicines.Risks of Taking Multiple MedicinesThe more medicines you take, the more you need to use them carefully. There are several risks when taking multiple medicines.You may be more likely to have side effects. Because most medicines can have side effects, the more medicines you take, the more likely you will have side effects. Taking certain medicines can also increase the risk for falls. FallsMany people with medical problems are at risk of falling or tripping. This can leave you with broken bones or more serious injuries. You can do man...Read Article Now Book Mark Article You are at higher risk for drug interactions. An interaction is when one medicine affects how another medicine works. For example, taken together, one medicine may make the other medicine stronger. Medicines can also interact with alcohol and even some foods. Some interactions can be serious, even life threatening. You may find it hard to keep track of when to take each medicine. You even may forget which medicine you have taken at a certain time. You may take a medicine you do not need. This may be more likely to happen if you see more than one health care provider. You may be prescribed different medicines for the same problem.People at Higher RiskCertain people are more likely to have problems from taking multiple medicines:People who are prescribed 5 or more medicines. The more medicines you take, the higher the chance of interactions or side effects. You may also find it hard to remember all possible drug interactions. People who take medicines prescribed by more than one provider. One provider may not know that you are taking medicines another provider has given you. Older adults. As you age, your body processes medicines differently. For instance, your kidneys may not work as well as they used to. This can mean that more medicine stays in your body for longer. This can lead to dangerous levels of medicines in your system. People in the hospital. When you are in the hospital, you will likely see new providers who are not familiar with your health history. Without this knowledge, they may prescribe a medicine that may interact with medicines you already take. What you can doThese suggestions can help you take all of your medicines safely:Keep a list of all medicines you take. Your list should include all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. OTC medicines include vitamins, supplements, and herbal products. Keep a copy of the list in your wallet and at home. Over-the-counter (OTC) medicinesOver-the-counter (OTC) medicines are drugs you can buy without a prescription. They treat a variety of minor health conditions. Most OTC medicines ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Review your medicine list with your providers and pharmacists. Discuss the list with your provider each time you have an appointment. Ask your provider if you still need to take all of the medicines on your list. Also ask if any of the dosages should be changed. Make sure you give all of your providers a copy of your medicine list. Ask questions about any new drugs you are prescribed. Make sure you understand how to take them. Also ask if a new medicine could interact with any of the medicines or supplements you are already taking. Ask questionsTalking to your health care providers about your medicines can help you learn to take them safely and effectively.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Take your medicines exactly as your provider tells you. If you have questions about how or why to take your medicine, ask your provider. Do not skip doses, or stop taking your medicines. If you notice side effects, tell your provider. Do not stop taking your medicines unless your provider tells you to. Tell your providerYou may find a time when you want to stop or change your medicine. But changing or stopping your medicine on your own can be dangerous. It could ma...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Keep your medicines organized. There are many ways to keep track of your medicines. A pill organizer may help. Try one or more methods and see what works for you. Keep your medicines organizedIf you take a lot of different medicines, you may find it hard to keep them straight. You may forget to take your medicine, take the wrong dose, or ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article If you have a hospital stay, bring your medicine list with you. Talk with your provider about medicine safety while you are in the hospital.Medicine safetyMedicine safety requires that you get the right medicine, the right dose, at the right times. During your hospital stay, your health care team needs...Read Article Now Book Mark Article When to Call the Health Care ProviderCall if you have questions or you are confused about the directions for your medicine. Call if you have any side effects from your medicines. Do not stop taking any medicine unless your provider tells you to stop.Open ReferencesReferencesAgency for Healthcare Research and Quality website. 20 tips to help prevent medical errors: patient fact sheet. www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/care-planning/errors/20tips/index.html. Updated August 2018. Accessed November 2, 2020.National Institute on Aging website. www.nia.nih.gov/health/safe-use-medicines-older-adults. Updated June 26, 2019. Accessed November 2, 2020.Ryan R, Santesso N, Lowe D, et al. Interventions to improve safe and effective medicines use by consumers: an overview of systematic reviews. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;29(4):CD007768. PMID: 24777444 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24777444/.US Food & Drug Administration website. Ensuring safe use of medicine. www.fda.gov/drugs/buying-using-medicine-safely/ensuring-safe-use-medicine. Updated September 12, 2016. 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