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Polypharmacy in the elderly is an identified comorbid complication secondary to the amount of medications required to treat the conditions that become more prevalent with age, such as heart disease, lung disease, metabolism problems, diabetes, etc. Issues arise when users become dependent upon certain medications, the medications interact with each other, with food or alcohol, or the user does not understand how to take their medication. Poor control of effects of medication on elderly people include more presentations to the emergency department, change in behaviour, increased side effects, and decreased quality and quantity of life. The effects can present as dizziness, confusion, falls, incontinence, weakness, depression, and anorexia, and can prematurely place a person in a care facility. Doctors and carers need to be aware of any recent changes in medication, health or behavior of the aged person to determine if their condition could be due to their drugs, and therefore reversible.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Senior Journal.com
About: Polypharmacy in the elderly
Date: 13 July 2004
Source: Senior Journal.com
Author: Audrey Ignatoff
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