Are the elderly taking too many drugs?

Specialties Geriatric


Am I the only one who thinks that the elderly are taking too many drugs both otc and prescription. I knew some older pt.s who take four different meds to lower blood sugar, two different meds to lower cholesterol. several BP meds, Ace inhibitors, beta blockers and on and on.

Add that to multiple physicians ordering drugs. And some doctors won't decrease this when they are made aware of this.

Just seems that the entire focus of nursing home, home health and hospital work centers around medications.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,525 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

I don't work LTC, but I definately agree.


511 Posts

Specializes in LTC, ER, ICU, Psych, Med-surg...etc....

I often go through the charts and see that someone may have orders for antidepressants, antianxiety agents, antipsychotics and's unbelieveable. Then when you ask the doc to D/C some of the garbage, he says. How long have they been on all that? Gee...didn't you order it????? :uhoh3:

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho.

I agree,, meds for side effects from other meds side effects, from other meds side effets,, it gets really rediculous.


61 Posts

Specializes in Geriatric/ Home Care.

Yes most are on way to many meds....our medical director is very good about letting us cut them down if we can....and have you ever noticed the ones who take barely anything are the healthiest??? :stone



121 Posts

Nursenan, yes I have noticed that the ones who take the least seem to be the healthiest. I don't see the quality of life there despite all the numerous medications either. And think of the costs???

I am trying my darnest to eat healthy , exercise -- do preventive things so I don't end up that way. Whatever happened to prevention. We've become such a pill dependent society.


61 Posts

Specializes in Geriatric/ Home Care.

A pill.......the easy way????


4,516 Posts

I definitely agree and am horrified by some of the med lists I see today. Sometimes i wonder about this healthcare system. "Better living through chemistry"' seems the motto and somebody's sure making $$$$ out of this. :(

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

as they say, less is more.

and you wonder why most of these elderly are agitated, confused, falling all over the place, constipated w/no appetite. hmmmmm. sounds like a no brainer to me.


4,516 Posts

I have often made the point to the ICU team" this patient needs a good IM doc to streamline the pharmaceuticals. " I get scowls from the specialists, of course. ;)

Jo Anne -OLD

79 Posts

I agree,, meds for side effects from other meds side effects, from other meds side effets,, it gets really rediculous.

You are 100% correct.

The public needs to be educated about their Rx's. The majority of drugs have side effects.

Stomach aches, diarrhea, etc...are typical symptoms...most will go away during tx.

BUT try to explain this to someone!!!!

I have seen MAR's 8 pages long. !!!!! It is not only ridiculous, it is deadly.

Plus, don't get me started on OTC and herbal supplements.


464 Posts

Specializes in Women's health & post-partum.

Five years ago, my 85 yo mil called me to tell me that she'd taken ALL her digoxin because she was worthless and there was nothing left for her. She would have died, too, except she had a pacemaker. I got her to the hospital and she was treated and then placed in a psych unit for a week or so. They took her off all her medications except digoxin and lasix, and that, with an antidepressant and tincture of time, had her back to her old self. I looked up all her meds and EVERY ONE had as either a major or minor side effect--tada!--depression. Imagine that!

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