Laurie Archbald-Pannone, MD, a geriatrician in the Division of General, Geriatric, Palliative and Hospital Medicine, was interviewed in June about “polypharmacy” for the “Live Well” program on local radio station WINA.” “Polypharmacy” refers to taking multiple medications at the same time, and encompasses over-the-counter medicines and vitamins as well as prescription medication.
“For each patient, we have to consider how all these medicines work together — or maybe against each other.” Archbald-Pannone and her geriatrician colleagues Seki Balogun, Huai Cheng and Mark Newbrough, encourage their patients to participate in “brown bag biopsies.”
“We tell our patients to put all their medications in a brown bag and bring them in so we can review them one-on-one and make sure everything they are currently taking is still appropriate, and to check for potential adverse drug interactions.”
“You can think of polypharmacy like an old house,” says Archbald-Pannone. “If you live in a house for 30, 40 years, you start to accumulate a lot of stuff; every so often, you need to go through your closets and clean out things that are no longer used or no longer work. Medicines are the same way; periodically you need to review them with your primary care physician and ask, ‘Do I still need to be on this?'”
The JABA geriatric clinic where Archbald-Pannone practices hosts regular “brown bag biopsies,” where they encourage their patients to put all their medications (both OTC and prescriptions) in a bag and bring them in, to review with their physician.
“As we age, our bodies change, including weight gain or loss, so dosages or medications may need to be adjusted accordingly. Listen to the live interview here: http://wina.com/morning-news/dr-laurie-archbald.