In the know: Over-the-counter drugs: Too many actors can be confusing

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, June 28, 2010

In an age where there is a preoccupation with beauty, fitness, health, and nutrition, media of all types entertain flamboyant advertisements, while infomercials promote both prescription and nonprescription over-the-counter drugs (OTC.) OTC drugs do not require a prescription and are not regulated in the same way that prescriptions are. They are accessible by anyone at any corner grocery or drug store.

One term commonly referred to when speaking about drugs is polypharmacy. Polypharmacy denotes taking a combination of many medications for various ailments in the guise of being helpful (healthful) but can suddenly become a downward spiral of events.

It is the responsibility of healthcare providers to review individual drug lists with clients and try to economize the numerous prescriptions and OTCs being taken together. As a nurse, you can assist clients through counseling and education about drugs and their uses to avoid polypharmacy. Encouraging clients to keep their healthcare providers up to date on their medication lists will circumvent more serious health concerns in the future.

For more tips, check out HCPro's book, Stressed Out About Pharmacology.

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