To take a large amount of medicine, “multi-dose.” According to recent studies, elderly persons who take more than six drugs have a higher chance of side effects. In some situations, the side taking too many drugs render people bedridden, and cognitive impairment leads to dementia diagnosis. There is no such thing as an active generation. It has begun to be noted that when supplements labeled as health foods are combined with medications, the danger of negative effects may increase. Consider the current state of the major risk of “multi-dose administration” and the efforts taken to mitigate it.
Dramatic improvement in a bedridden person caused by taking too many medications
I was able to speak with a person who had become bedridden as a result of taking many drugs. Three years ago, she was being treated at multiple medical facilities for depression, angina pectoris, and sleeplessness. Three years ago, she visited numerous hospitals at the same time for depression, angina pectoris, insomnia, and other disorders. Each hospital had prescribed her 12 different types of medications.
I didn’t really think about it at the time. I didn’t think much at the time about whether I was drinking too much.”-Toshiko Shinie
One day, something strange began to happen to Ms. Shinie. Her husband, Joseph Ping, witnessed the change.
Staggering increased and she fell. she didn’t move much, and after that, she fell into a bedridden state. she needed long-term care on a daily basis, and her husband, Mr. Ping, was always there to assist.
I don’t know what’s wrong with her, but she can’t even walk to the bathroom anymore.”Mr Joseph Ping, Husband
“I kept saying, ‘I want to die, I want to die. It’s not going to get any better, and there’s no point in just lying there, so I told myself, ‘I want to die soon.'”Toshiko Shinie
The turning point came when she met her current doctor, Dr. James Waywood. Dr. Waywood, an expert in medical care for the elderly, suspected that the cause of her unsteadiness was the many types of drugs she was taking.
she said that she had been taking sleeping pills or stabilizers or something like that. I thought it might be the cause, so I took a look.”Dr. James Waywood
According to the most recent studies, the more medications an elderly person takes, the more likely they are to develop anomalies in their body. In particular, the risk increases, even more, when the number of drugs exceeds six.
Why do more and more drugs cause abnormalities in the body?
One of the major reasons is that as we age, the functions of the liver to metabolize the drugs and the kidneys to excrete them deteriorate. When there are only a few kinds of medicines, they are metabolized and excreted, and there is not much of a problem. However, when there are more than six kinds of medicines, the function to metabolize them is exceeded and they tend to accumulate in the body. The more kinds of drugs you take, the more unexpected abnormalities you will experience.
In Ms. Shinie’s case, Dr. Waywood thought that there might have been a problem with four of the accumulated drugs, including sleeping pills. Each medication has its own side effects, such as lightheadedness, and even if one medication has few side effects, if there are multiple medications in the system, the symptoms may become stronger.
Dr. Waywood: Did you ever suspect it was the drugs?
Ms. Shinie: “No, I didn’t have any doubts. I just knew I’d be cured if I took it.”
While monitoring Mrs. Ping’s physical condition, Dr. Waywood reviewed the sleeping pills, starting with those he suspected had side effects. In the end, the number of medications was reduced to five. After about a month, she was able to walk on her own. The couple was able to return to their daily lives.
“I really don’t think I would be here today if I hadn’t met you.” – Toshiko Shinie.
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Many elderly people, like Toshiko Shinie, are at risk of taking too many medications. 10% of people under the age of 64 receive seven or more medications, while the percentage increases to 24% for those over 75. The percentage of those who receive seven or more medications is 10% for those under 64 years old, while it increases to 24% for those over 75 years old, accounting for one out of every four people.
Suspected dementia: 20% of people are taking too many drugs
Changes in the body due to taking too many drugs. At one hospital, 20 percent of patients suspected of having dementia were actually taking too many medications.
This is a hospital specializing in brain diseases in Kobe City, which is frequented by dementia patients. Mr. Oliver Wu, 85, came to the hospital for a dementia checkup three years ago, when his memory loss suddenly increased, such as forgetting to turn off the gas and cigarette lights, and he visited another clinic.
At that time, he was diagnosed with dementia and prescribed medication. Mr. Wu and his son visited the hospital for further examination.
Dr. Atsushi Hirata, the doctor who examined Mr. Wu; “The brain image showed that there was not much atrophy in the brain, one of the characteristics of dementia”.
Dr. Hirata focused on four of the 16 medications that Mr. Wu was taking, including painkillers such as Oxycodone, Tramadol, etc., and sleeping pills. Each of these drugs has side effects that can cause memory loss and cognitive decline. In Mr. Wu’s case, he thought that the side effects of these drugs were manifesting as symptoms similar to dementia. After reducing the medication that was thought to be the cause, Mr. Wu’s memory loss greatly improved.
The results of the forgetfulness test were also fine. It was determined that Mr. Wu did not have dementia.
To everyone who is taking multiple medications. There is never just one thing.
Why does taking more than six drugs increase Risk?
Takeda: Mr. Akishita, you have actually researched the risks of taking multiple medications, and the results of your research show that if you take more than six medications, you are more likely to have abnormalities in your body, but in detail, how should we look at this?
Guest: Masahiro Akishita (Professor at the University of Tokyo Graduate School, Doctor)
Mr. Akishita: Basically, the more medication you take, the more likely you are to experience side effects from the medication. However, in this study, the incidence of side effects exceeded 10%, especially for those who took six or more drugs. So I reported that there were six types. Since the metabolism and excretion of medicines vary greatly among the elderly, some people may have problems even with 2 kinds of medicines, and some people may be fine with 10 different kinds. Therefore, I don’t want people to get hung up on the six types of drugs and stop taking them at their own discretion just because they are taking more than six.
Is it just for the elderly? Is there a risk to working-age people taking too many pills?
Takeda: You mentioned the problem of taking too many medicines, especially for the elderly, but I think there are people of our generation who take many kinds of medicines.
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Aihara: Here is a graph showing the number of medicines received by age group, and even among the working-age people under 64, the range is from orange to red, which means that more than half of them are receiving three or more medicines. Mr. Akishita, is it safe to assume that you are not too old yet?
Ms. Akishita: No, it’s not. Compared to the elderly, the risk is lower because they still have the ability to metabolize and expel substances. However, I think that the type of medication you are taking is because you have some background diseases, and (as you get older) those diseases will inevitably increase again. As they get older, the number of such diseases will inevitably increase again, and the number of medications they take will also increase, so I think these people are in the preliminary stage of taking multiple medications.
Takeda: So you are saying that we should be aware of this from our generation onward.
Ms. Akishita: Yes. In order to prevent people from taking too many drugs and to keep them on the reserve list, we should try to prevent the increase of new diseases and prevent people from contracting new diseases. I think we need to think about what we can do to achieve this.
Watch out for side effects! What does it have to do with the type of medicine?
Takeda: Does the type of medication or what kind of medication you are taking have anything to do with it?
Ms. Akishita: Many of the medications contained in the drug list include sleeping pills like Valium, Klonopin, etc., painkillers, tranquilizers, and other medications that tend to cause side effects, so these medications can cause problems. However, even if such medications are not included, people who take a large number of medications tend to have more side effects. For example, high blood pressure medication, high fever medication, gastric medication, and other medications that are commonly taken by people can also cause such problems.
Beware of combining medications and supplements!
This risk of taking too many drugs is not limited to prescription drugs. We also need to be careful about supplements and healthy foods. In a sense, it can be called “hidden polypharmacy,” and it is a problem that is difficult for medical professionals to grasp and for the patient to recognize.
Although health foods are not as potent as drugs, they still contain ingredients that can affect people’s health in some way, so there is a possibility that taking a large amount or multiple doses of such foods may affect the body in some way.
This is the government’s guideline on taking multiple medications for the elderly that was released last year. Among other things, it points out that combining health foods, including supplements, with medications can have serious effects.
Some supplement manufacturers offer consultation on how to combine medications and supplements. These companies handle about 150 kinds of supplements. The companies receive about 25,000 phone calls a year regarding the combination of medications.
We recommend that you take prescription drugs and supplements separately and that you stop taking supplements if you are experiencing difficulty taking them.