Is My Doctor Prescribing Too Many Medications?

Is My Doctor Prescribing Too Many Medications?

Millions of people rely on prescription drugs to manage chronic illness, treat injuries, and save their lives. With health care insurance, we are fortunate to have access to physicians who can prescribe the necessary medications that improve our quality of life. Unfortunately, with more access to both prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, health experts agree that over-medicating has become an issue for many Americans.

Most physicians will be diligent in writing prescriptions and keeping track of a patient’s full medical profile to avoid any conflicts or over-medication, but even with the best of intentions, information can fall through the cracks.

Your physician is your partner in managing your health and well-being, so it’s important that you take an active role in your own health care management. Regardless of your age or health, it is crucial that you keep records of all of your health care needs, supplies, and medications. It can be helpful to have a loved one or adviser help you create a comprehensive list, and for someone else to be aware of your health history and current needs.

Take a proactive stance in regards to your medications. Make sure you understand the specifics of each drug – why your doctor prescribed it, what benefit it should have on your health, and any possible side effects. Drug interactions can vary, and you need to be aware of possible conflicts between your medications, including both prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Communication is key. Your primary care physician needs to see the whole picture of your health – and any medicines or supplements prescribed by specialists or other providers should be reported. A physician that does not have all of the information may try to treat a stand-alone symptom with more medication when it is merely the result of interaction issues between drugs you already take. Your pharmacist can be a great resource, as well, and can act as a second set of eyes on your medications.

If you have questions or concerns about the medications currently prescribed for you, discuss this with your doctor, or consider getting a second opinion. Doctors make decisions based on the information they have, but no one can possibly have all the answers, and only you know how you feel.

Trust your instincts. If you feel like there is a problem or if a trusted family member expresses concern over changed behavior or symptoms, talk to your physician. Together, you can make sure that your medications are appropriate and provide you with the right solutions to your health issues.