The Zoomer Report: Multiple Meds

Is your medicine cabinet bursting at the seams?

A new study shows that almost two-thirds of Canadians over the age of 65 are taking five or more prescription medications.

That includes one in five who are taking 10 or more drugs and one in 20 who are on a staggering 15 or more meds to manage a variety of conditions, from high blood pressure through to Alzheimer’s. This, according to data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Doctors say this is a big concern because prescription drugs are rarely tested on older Zoomers, and multiple medications greatly increase the risk of dangerous drug interactions. There is little co-ordination of care and tracking of prescription drugs, in large part because electronic health records are a rarity in Canada.

In other words, some doctors who are prescribing drug number 10 have no idea what the other nine drugs are.

Statins, used to treat high cholesterol, are the drugs most commonly prescribed to people over 65; 40 per cent are taking them. Next are drugs used to treat high blood pressure and gastro-esophageal reflex disease.

Bottom line if you or a loved one are on multiple meds — make sure your doctor knows about all of them.

Photo © Stanley Mayhew


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About The Zoomer Report

Libby ZnaimerLibby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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