According to a new study released by the journal Annals of Family Medicine, nearly half of people who take certain types of prescription drugs continue taking them for longer than is recommended or safe. The prescription drugs include antidepressants, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and bisphosphonates (osteoporosis and bone density treatments).1 Most of these medications are only meant to be taken for a certain period, otherwise they can become less effective, less useful, or can lead to more serious side effects.
How Does This Happen?
The authors of this study attribute some of the results to “legacy prescribing”, a situation that occurs when doctors who start someone on a prescription for a good reason may later renew it without a full assessment of whether or not it’s still needed. Per Nitin S. Damle, M.D., past president of the American College of Physicians and a physician in private practice in Rhode Island, “If there’s no follow-up and [patients’] prescriptions are just renewed electronically, there’s very little thought as to whether they need to be on it or not.”
What’s the Risk?
One of the biggest potential dangers of continuing a prescription for too long is that every on going prescription increases thechances of drugs interacting and causing a harmful reaction.2 There is also an increased risk in side effects and unnecessary costs due to non-optimized medication therapy.
What Should You Do?
If you’re worried about your current medication regime, here are a few tips to help you feel confident in what you’re taking:
- Discuss all your current medications with your doctor, at least once a year.
- If you have multiple doctors, it can be difficult to ensure they’re all on the same page. At your annual checkup, talk to your primary doctor about all your current medications.
- Talk to your doctor about reducing your medications
- While your doctor will know what dosage is best for you, it never hurts to have a yearly discussion to see if you can lower any of your medication dosages. This helps in combating legacy prescribing.
- If your health plan includes Tria Health, you can talk with a clinically trained pharmacist and review all your current medications (prescription, over the counter and supplements). Tria Health’s pharmacists will help make sure your medications are effectively treating your condition(s) and identify and cost savings opportunities.
For more tips, click here.
Have any Questions?
Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742