Q:Dear Dr. Si. I have parents that are 81 and 82, my mom is on 16 different medicines for all kinds of stuff we have no family history of. I read an article in the readers digest that a geriatric pharmacist can look over a medication list and see if some of the medicines might be unnecessary and causing side effects. We feel that the many different pills they are taking are making them tired and physically unable to perform every day tasks. Could this be true? We are thinking about taking them off most of their medicines and seeing how they feel. – DMD
When someone is taking that many medications – 16 in your Mom’s case – and that she and your family are not sure why all the medicines are being used and the fact that she and Dad are tired and unable to perform certain tasks is a huge red flag indicating the likelihood that she and maybe your Dad could be experiencing one or more medication-related problems such as adverse drug reactions, drug interactions or using medications that are not needed. I don’t know the details of your Mom’s medical history but I think it is likely that she has been getting prescriptions from more than one physician and perhaps also using non-prescription medications. Rather than stopping your Mom’s medicines I strongly recommend that you locate either a “senior care pharmacist” or “certified geriatric pharmacist” to perform a thorough medication review to identify, and hopefully reverse, some of these problems if they exist. Please click on the “topics” tab on this page and select “Senior care pharmacy services” in the drop down menu to learn how to locate one of these professionals in your area so they may perform a comprehensive medication review for your Mom and Dad.