Updated: Feb 5, 2021
I have blogged about deprescribing before. Deprescribing is the planned discontinuation of a medication that is no longer needed. As a pharmacist, deprescribing is a part of lifestyle medicine where I can be of assistance.
Prescription cascades occur when a medication causes a side effect that is interpreted as new symptom. As a new symptom, it is then treated with another medication. This can happen repeatedly. A common cascade that I see is with sleeping medications to treat insomnia. Morning drowsiness is a common side effect. So, what do people do when they are drowsy in the morning? They have a cup of coffee. They feel alert and start their day. After lunch, they may feel drowsy again and have another cup of coffee. The same after supper. However, the caffeine in the coffee causes insomnia. Thus, more sleeping medications are needed. And the cycle continues, possibly becoming worse if alcohol is added to the mix. Alcohol interrupts the quality of sleep and may cause insomnia. Please reconsider caffeine and alcohol in your life, especially if you have difficulty sleeping. Thanks for reading! #lifestylemedicine #olderadults #seniors
Photograph by Mike Kenneally on Unsplashed