Polypharmacy Is Not Jolly

first_imgby, Cathy Rosenbaum, Guest BloggerTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesIn all affairs it’s a healthy thing to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. – Bertrand RussellHallelujah. The healing paradigm is finally shifting in the U.S. The time is ripe for doctors to rethink how they prescribe medications. Less is more. As a fellow health care professional, I believe medical students should be taught to utilize drugs sparingly, as only one of many, customizable tools in their healing quiver.Envision a country where you as the patient could be asked by your doctor to select from a menu of non-invasive, evidence-based holistic healing regimens when needed. That’s right, you would choose! Aromatherapy, guided imagery, spiritual retreats, Yoga, Tai Chi, personality testing, and acupuncture would be covered by insurance or included as part of your total office visit fee. Doctors would collaborate with evidence-based non-traditional medicine practitioners for your good.Seniors over age 65 years represent 12 percent of the U.S. population and consume 32 percent of prescription medications. Many take five or more prescription medications, intentionally combining them with other over-the-counter medications and multi-ingredient dietary supplements. Boomers, we need to collectively push back against that machine.Everything changes. Our body’s physiologic clock resets as we mature in the life journey. We become more sensitive to the effects of medications. Talk with your doctor about this list of possible options the next time you go to the office.Sleep Restoration – drink a cup of chamomile tea, lavender tea, or decaffeinated green tea before bedtime; try a few minutes of slow, deep breathing as you retire to inhale life-giving oxygen and calm you down from the day’s challengesStress/Anxiety – repeat affirming statements about your life blessings (we all have them); read up on the benefits of acupressure (Gach)Weight Loss – eat apples and drink water for snacks; walk around the dining room table and up/down home stairs for ½ hour a day (yes, and let your neighbors see you through the window)Arthritis Pain/Inflammation – talk with your doctor about the appropriateness of glucosamine HCL or turmeric dietary supplements instead of a years worth of NSAIDs like Naprosyn and Motrin that can damage the kidney, heart, and stomachViral Colds – eat chicken noodle soap; try zinc lozenges, as directed on the package label, at the first sign of symptomsGeneral Health – exude a positive attitude; teach your family to grow, cook, and eat from the Mediterranean diet (e.g., olive oil, colorful fruits and vegetables, moderate wine consumption, nuts); prefer whole (not processed) foods for your nutrition regimen, locally grown in your own organic garden or community supported agriculture farmNew Year’s ResolutionsConsumers: Let your feet do the shopping. Choose a primary care physician that thinks out of the box and is open to integrative health principles & practices (see the Academy for Integrative Health and Medicine @ www.aihm.org )Don’t expect to get a prescription medication every time you leave the doctor’s officeIncorporate medicinal herbal spices and teas into your nutritional regimen for health and taste (Aggarwal)Take charge of holistic you in your body mind and spiritGet educated on the exciting integrative health and healing paradigm (visit www.NIHseniorhealth.gov, www.babyboomers.com, www.lifereimagined.com)Physicians: Be aware of all medications and dietary supplements your patients are taking; supplements act like drugs and have interactions and side effects that you must acknowledge and manageTreat your patient as an equal partner in the decision-making process and consider his/her point of view before prescribing any medicationTry prescription drug reduction strategies (one medication as opposed to several, lowest dose possible)Try drug holidays (e.g., FLEX study with Fosamax for osteoporosis)Try evidence-based, alternate drug regimens (e.g., every other day Zocor for high cholesterol)Promote healthy nutrition to your patients at every office visit; discuss connection to eating whole foods and a healthy immune systemPharmacists: Explain to your patients the importance of shopping at one pharmacy for all prescription medicationsGet educated on nutrition and dietary supplements,Recommend medicinal herbal teas instead of OTC medications whenever appropriateTalk consumers out of taking antibiotics for viral infectionsSummaryIntegrative health and medicine is here to stay. Take a lifelong learning class in your local community. Teach your grandchildren about it as your contribution to the family legacy. Be a part of the health evolution revolution. Happy New Year!References: Aggarwal. Healing spices. How to use 50 everyday and exotic spices to boost health and beat disease. Sterling 2011 New York, New York.Amagase. U.S. dietary supplement labeling rules and the possibility of medical cost reduction. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol 2015;61:S136.Breathnach. Simple abundance. A daybook of comfort and joy. Warner Books 1995 New York, New York.Collaborators. American Geriatrics Society 2015 updated Beers Criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc 2015;63:2227.Gach. Acupressure for emotional healing. A self care guide for trauma, stress & common emotional imbalances. Bantam 2004 New York, New York.Rosenbaum. Don’t Sweep It Under the Drug! Integrating Evidence-Based Body Mind & Spiritual Practices into Your Health & Wellness Tool Kit. Createspace 2015.Starr. Should states and local governments regulate dietary supplements? Drug Testing Anal 2015. doi 10.1002/dta.1926Related PostsPower-Up FridayWho Decides? (Thanks for all the comments on my “Priorities” post last week. Sounds like I hit a nerve…) Today, the New York Times features a commentary about current debates on the health care needs of an aging population. The author, Dr. Pauline Chen, makes the point that most debates focus on…AARP Is No Friend To Big PharmaWhen it comes to the chronic over-medicating of older adults, AARP has been a consistent critic of Big Pharma and the doctors who overprescribe dangerous cocktails of drugs without fully understanding their impact on older adults. And considering the size of this epidemic, it’s a darn good thing AARP is…Impediments to doctor/patient partnershipsDespite all the attention paid to patient satisfaction, empowerment, and doctor/patient communication in the last number of years, true collaboration between physicians and those in their care is rare. The ideal of “shared decision making” is broadly embraced but equal … Continue reading →TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: Care Partner holistic Pharmalast_img