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How to reduce medication overload in long-term care

Over the past decade, the use of multiple medications (clinically known as “polypharmacy”) has skyrocketed among older adults. Aging brings ailments and chronic illnesses, and more illnesses generally lead to more prescriptions. But every additional medication taken by an older person increases the risk of a serious side effect. As medication use has dramatically increased, too many older adults are simply overloaded with medications that are more likely to harm rather than help them. More

Medication Overload: Time For An Action Plan

In the last two decades the number of people age 65 or older who are taking five or more medications has increased 300 percent.  A problem that is much bigger than America’s opioid crisis, the scope and impact of over-prescribing in older adults is detailed in “Medication Overload: America’s Other Drug Problem,” a report co-authored by The Lown Institute’s Judith Garber, a Health Policy and Communications Fellow at Lown; and Shannon Brownlee, Senior VP at the Institute and author of the book, “Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer.”  We talk with Shannon and Judith about what’s driving the practice of over-prescribing, solutions that have been effective in tackling the problem and what you can do to prevent adverse drug events.  This episode airs on the heels of a newly-released report from Lown titled, “Eliminating Medication Overload: A National Action Plan.”  Note: this episode originally aired April 11, 2019. More

When the best prescription is deprescribing

For the past year, Kaiser Permanente has collaborated with the Lown Institute, a nonprofit organization that sheds light on the harms that can result from polypharmacy. Maisha Draves and Lynn Deguzman have had the privilege of sharing our organization’s successes with deprescribing, which has helped inform a pivotal report, Medication Overload: America’s Other Drug Problem, and a new national action plan to address the issue. More

Pharmacists can help solve our overmedication problem — if we let them

Pharmacists have many years of graduate training specifically around medication use and safety, and are perfectly positioned to help older patients and their medical providers manage medications. Yet most patients in America don’t realize their pharmacist has this expertise—and if, by chance, they do ask for their pharmacists for help, patients discover the pharmacist is too busy filling prescriptions to take the time for a longer conversation. More