essay 4 drug use - Cameron Kirby Polypharmacy Polypharmacy...

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Cameron Kirby Polypharmacy Polypharmacy (the consumption of more than one drug by a single person) is a growing trend among Americans. This is partially due with the fact that physicians make it a point to prescribe several different drugs to their patients in order to achieve greater effectiveness and the quickest results for their patients. Also, polypharmacy is very prevalent in society today due to the fact that many Americans take several different types of over the counter drugs, (drugs which anybody can buy, i.e. does not require a prescription) such as Advil or Claritin, along with their other prescribed pharmaceuticals which are taken on a daily basis. Polypharmacy is specifically prevalent among the aged. Studies have shown that people 65 years of age or older are taking four to six prescription drugs and one to three non-prescription drugs a day. (PubMed) This equates to an average of seven different drugs for a single person taken a day. Also, in a study of 492 randomly selected Figure 1: Many aged individuals must constantly visit a doctor to make sure none of their conditions are detrimental to their health. Periodically their doctor must prescribe a new drug for them to either help their condition or to help them be more comfortable through any pain their condition may cause.
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individuals, results showed that a mere three percent of those who are 75 and older do not take any prescription drugs. (Berlin) The medication taken by the aged can range anywhere from ten cents to ten dollars a pill, and the majority of these pills are taken on a daily basis. This can come out to a large sum of money if the individuals have no insurance. There are many reasons doctors prescribe multiple medications to their patients, but in the case of the aged, the main reason for polypharmacy is for the simple fact that they hare older. Their bodies are feebler, their blood is thinner, and their immune systems are weaker. All of that equates to the fact that the aged are more susceptible to diseases than somebody twenty years of age. That, in turn, also mean that the diseases they acquire can have a much more serious effect on them than if they were younger. Then there are terminal illnesses (illnesses which have no cure), such as Alzheimer’s, which become more of a concern for people as they become older. (Alzheimer’s) Alzheimer’s is a disease which affects memory and other cognitive functions. Since terminal illnesses have no cure, the drugs prescribed are either experimental or merely subdue the sufferers symptoms. Those who take the types of drugs which do nothing but subdue symptoms are aimed more at making their daily life more tolerable, Figure 2: A picture of an Alzheimer’s sufferer taken by a BBC news photographer.
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which is all they can ask for until there is a cure. But those who take the experimental drugs have hope that they can be cured or keep the disease under control. In many cases, those with psychological disorders must also take multiple
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essay 4 drug use - Cameron Kirby Polypharmacy Polypharmacy...

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