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By Dr. Tyra Oldham

Tyra Oldham. Photo provided

Today, many are on medicines necessary for a healthy quality of life. As we age and change health status (better or declining), we must understand the prescribed drugs and recommended dosages. It is always beneficial for a caregiver or patient to monitor the interactions and benefits of each drug. The awareness of your medicines is the difference between good health and thriving. It is time to review your medications! No matter how long it’s been you can start today to assess your current medications.

If you are on any medications, it is an excellent time to conduct what professionals call polypharmacy. 

Polypharmacy is a formal review of current drugs and their dosages to determine whether the medicines are effective or have served their initial purpose. Please take a moment and imagine many patients remain on their medications longer than needed because they did not ask their doctors about their drugs’ efficacy. When medicines are continued beyond their usefulness, they cease to add value to the prescriber; this is why polypharmacy is critical.

Polypharmacy is for anyone on medicines, no matter their age or illness. Even those on allergy medicines may require new dosages or a change in formulation to combat side effects or allergies. Yet, polypharmacy is a necessary health ingredient for the elderly. This is an advised practice for safe healthcare management.

The first step is to go to the doctor to review each med. Each doctor may have prescribed different medicines for review. Next is to check in with your pharmacy to ensure the medications are effective, accurate, and as advised. Your pharmacist is a part of your health plan, and it is essential to have an active relationship with them. Your pharmacist is the formulary professional supporting your doctors’ recommendations for your medicines and the doses.

Medicines can often be forgotten when your doctor reads your chart and asks about a drug with another pharmaceutical name. Always ask your doctor if the medication you may be unfamiliar with has another name, so it is not removed from your chart. Furthermore, your pharmacy may provide you with a generic drug instead of the name brand; this is important in managing medications, especially when talking with your doctors.

The goal is to make sure your medicines continue to offer beneficial results. Another support in your medical care is to take your blood pressure correctly and consistently, and oxygen (O2) (pulse oximetry) as your medications and treatments are often tied to these critical numbers.

Be conscientious about your medicines, as they are often the lifeline to a better quality of life. Polypharmacy is a mindful practice in your health regimen. Become your own best care advocate! Take time to treat and conduct your loved one or yourself to polypharmacy. You can never go wrong with checking in and checking up. Learn more about polypharmacy from your doctors and pharmacist.

For more information on care support and caregiving advice, write or email the “Care Corner.” Want to discuss care? Care Corner is that place to talk care, address questions for current and potential caregivers, and provide suggestions on agencies, services, and tips to assist in a care journey. (Read more of the article from the Herald Newspaper– subscribe now

The Care Corner is for everyone, no matter their age or process in care. For more information on caregiving, send your questions to Care Corner at the Cincinnati Herald or via email at

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