Discover What Is Polypharmacy And If It Is A Threat To Your Bones And Wellbeing - Save Our Bones

As Big Pharma has risen to power and gained outsized influence within the Medical Establishment a troubling trend has emerged: polypharmacy.

Polypharmacy is a situation in which a person is taking five or more medications at the same time.

This article will look at recent studies on the phenomenon of polypharmacy and its potentially deadly consequences. Then you'll learn what it takes to begin deprescribing, and what barriers can stand in the way.

About Polypharmacy

Polypharmacy occurs when a person takes five or more medications simultaneously. Often, these medications are prescribed for different conditions without regard for the total number of prescriptions a person is already on.

Some drugs have negative interactions that may be immediately hazardous, but even if the five or more prescriptions don't have any known interactions, taking them concurrently may have unintended negative consequences.

Studies on the impact of polypharmacy have only been conducted recently. These trials examined health outcomes for people taking multiple medications at the same time.

A study published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics associated a significant increase in mortality with polypharmacy among older adults. Additionally, they found that polypharmacy increased the hospitalization rate for older adults by fifty percent.1

The study concluded with the following statement about the dangers of polypharmacy.

“Polypharmacy can be associated with numerous poor health outcomes, especially among older adults with multimorbidity, including an increased risk of death, falls, drug interactions, non-adherence, and hospitalization” 1

Synopsis

Polypharmacy occurs when a person takes five or more medications at the same time. Studies have found that polypharmacy increases the risk of death, hospitalization, and falls.

Additional Threats Of Polypharmacy For Savers

All drugs are acidifying. Therefore every drug contributes to acidification that can lead to bone loss. Polypharmacy multiplies the bone-damaging effects.

Drugs are removed from your system by the body's filtration organs, the liver and the kidneys.
The process of filtering drugs uses processing capacity that would otherwise be available to remove toxins and protect bones.

Additionally, one of the effects of polypharmacy is an increased risk of falls, making polypharmacy a direct threat to bone health.

Synopsis

Since drugs are acidifying, polypharmacy multiplies the acidification caused by drugs, diminishing bone health. Additionally, polypharmacy increases the risk of falls, directly threatening bones.

Barriers To Deprescribing And How To Overcome Them

For people who have been overprescribed and are now experiencing polypharmacy the best course of action may be to consult their doctor about deprescribing. A doctor can conduct a medication review, and determine which drugs can be safely deprescribed.

You should never stop taking a prescription drug without consulting your doctor. It is dangerous to abruptly stop taking some medications, including beta-blockers, antidepressants, and anticoagulants, to name a few.

Although both patients and doctors may desire deprescribing, it's not always easy to achieve. A study in the journal Aging examined barriers to deprescribing and factors that helped facilitate the process.2 The barriers identified in the study included:

  • A lack of knowledge and training among healthcare providers
  • A lack of time with patients
  • Breakdowns in communication between patients and providers
  • Fear of the perception of deprescription as “abandonment of care”
  • Fears of adverse consequences on deprescription
  • Resistance from patients

However, certain factors facilitated deprescribing, including:

  • Recognizing opportunities to instigate deprescription
  • Regular medication reviews
  • Improved communication between patients and doctors
  • Education of both patients and clinicians

These factors highlight the importance of clear communication with your doctor. You can ask for regular medication reviews to ensure that you are taking the lowest possible number of medications.

If you are taking five or more prescription medications, tell your doctor you are concerned about the risks of polypharmacy. It's important to communicate proactively so your healthcare providers are clear about the way you want to manage your health.

If your doctor doesn't listen to your concerns and address them, it's time to find a new doctor.

Synopsis

Deprescription can be hindered by a lack of knowledge on the part of doctors, fears about perceptions and consequences, resistance, and a lack of communication. Recognizing opportunities for deprescription, regular medication reviews, improved communication, and education of patients and doctors can reduce barriers.

What This Means To You

At the Save Institute, we always prefer the natural path to health and leave prescription drugs as a solution of last resort. For that to be possible, it is essential that you are an active participant in your healthcare. That includes initiating medication reviews with your doctor to prevent inappropriate polypharmacy.

Doctor communication is so essential for your well-being that the Osteoporosis Reversal Program includes a special section titled Doctor Communication Tutorials. It will walk you step by step through the process of building robust communication habits with the medical professionals who provide you with care.

You're not alone in your journey to build stronger bones and live a healthier life. When you choose a clear path forward, your doctors and community can support you on your journey.

References

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9297624/

2 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41514-023-00132-2

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11 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. elizabeth oliver

    Dear Vivian,

    I have been prescribed ACTONEL EC TABLETS for my bones. Is it wise to take these tables. I have not taken them as yet and seek your advice.

    Kind regards,
    Elizabeth Oliver

  2. Mary Speidel

    Great article!

    What calcium supplement do you recommend for women 65-70

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Mary, we recommend taking algae-derived calcium and calcium citrate.

  3. Gail

    Great article! Do you know how organic supplements affect the body? I presently take two prescription drugs along with my vitamins and supplements.

    • Save Institute Customer Support

      Dear Gail,
      We are happy to answer your question, so please check your email inbox within the next 24-48 hours.
      In excellent health,
      Customer Support

  4. Kathy

    Good article, Vivian! Thanks!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Kathy!

  5. Ita

    Thank you, Ita.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Ita!

  6. Susan

    Thank you!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      My pleasure, Susan!

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