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Is Dad Overmedicated?



My father is taking about 20 medications, which means taking 35 to 40 pills per day. Add to that the supplements he believes he needs and takes in large doses. It’s frightening to see his medication cabinet. Dad has heart failure, diabetes, gout, and a few other chronic issues, so I am sure there is a good reason for most of his medications. I just want him to be safe, but how do I know when a person is over-medicated?


Before you jump into defender mode, briefly take a step back. According to your list, your father has some serious health issues. Some of his medications are likely keeping him alive. Unchecked diabetes and heart failure never end well. Not only does Dad need to take is medications, he must not skip them. The differenece is subtle, but the consequences of incorrectly taking medications may be severe. Many of us can thank the pharmaceutical world for advances that prolong life, and your dad is most certainly one of them.

If you wish to see which medications are essential to your father’s health, the approach I recommend is to ask his permission to setup a medication consultation with his primary physician. The first thing to do is create a comprehensive list of Dad’s medications, including dosage size and schedule. Ask Dad how he is feeling and document all of his aches and pains. All of this information will help determine which medications are necessary or unnecessary and which ones may be causing some ill side effects.

You mentioned that your father is a supplement lover. Coordination with a medical professional is essential when taking supplements and medication. Supplements can be harmful to one’s health, especially when combined with multiple prescription drugs. Pills are so little that we may think less of popping a few. Wrong. Those little pills can cause drastic changes in the body’s equilibrium when taken improperly. Anyone on prescription medications should bring all of their supplement bottles or a detailed and accurate list (with dosage size and schedule) to each physician and specialist appointment, as drugs often react with each other.

Your father is fortunate to have someone like you looking after him. I wish you the best.