Health & Safety

November 29, 2012

Poly-pharmacy: A shared responsibility in medication safety

The Army Suicide Prevention Task Force has identified poly-pharmacy as an important contributing factor to suicide, fatal accidents, and adverse outcomes among Army personnel. Poly-pharmacy is a term used to describe a patient who is being treated for multiple conditions with a variety of medications prescribed by several healthcare providers. When a patient receives four or more medications that include one or more psychotropic medications and/or central nervous system depressants, within a 30-day period they meet the definition of poly-pharmacy.

Psychotropic medications are drugs that may affect the mind, emotions, thoughts, concentration, perception, consciousness and behavior. They are used to treat a variety of medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.

Central Nervous System depressants are medications that may be used for the management of pain and seizures. Some major side effects associated with Central Nervous System depressants are decreased heart rate, decreased respiratory rate, and decreased consciousness. In extreme cases, Central Nervous System depressants can lead to coma and death.

Taking a combination of these medications can increase the risks for adverse events. It is absolutely vital that Soldiers actively participate in their medical care. Without their participation, health care providers cannot be successful in their efforts to provide a medically safe environment. It is important that patients do the following:

Provide information on any over-the-counter medications, herbal medications, supplements, recreational drugs, or prescription drugs filled at retail or mail-order pharmacies to their providers.

• Comply with the therapy prescribed. Do not take more medication than prescribed, which could lead to an overdose; or take less medication than prescribed which could lead to ineffective therapy.

• Do not share medication with others or take someone else’s medication. Each medication therapy is specific to the patient’s medical condition.

• Always destroy or dispose of medications you are no longer taking.

When Soldiers provide an accurate list of their medications, healthcare providers are able to get a true picture of their potential risk for poly-pharmacy and develop strategies to mitigate harm.

There are almost always noticeable physical symptoms associated with taking this type of medication. You should notify your Provider if you notice any significant worsening of symptoms. The following symptoms are associated with psychotropic medications and Central Nervous System depressants:

• Sleepiness/drowsiness

• Inability to focus or make decisions

• Agitation/aggressiveness

• Emotional instability/ withdrawal

• Sadness/anxiety

Fort Irwin WACH Pharmacy services are available to answer all questions relating to your medication therapy. The pharmacy encourages questions or requests for patient-counseling and can be reached at 380-3130. The pharmacy is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.for walk-ins and patient counseling appointment requests.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Photo by Casey Slusser, TASC

New era of NTC leadership begins

Photo by Casey Slusser, TASC Brigadier Gen. Joseph Martin (left) receives the National Training Center colors from Lt. Gen. Patrick Donahue II, deputy commanding general of United States Army Forces Command, during a change of ...
 
 

Honoring Holocaust victims

The nation observes Days of Remembrance to remember the Holocaust and honor the victims and survivors of that genocide. This year, the week-long commemoration is from April 12 through April 19. The theme is “Learning from the Holocaust: Choosing to Act” and was designated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. An observance...
 
 

You have to start with a dream

Gustavo Bahena Colonel Cathy Walter, deputy commander of Nursing Services with United States Army Medical Department Activity here, speaks at the 2015 Fort Irwin Women’s History Month celebration, March 11. Fort Irwin celebrated Women’s History Month with a ceremony at a packed venue here, March 11. Sandy Basin Community Center was standing room only for...
 

 
G.A. Volb

Army Surgeon General lauds realism in training

G.A. Volb Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho (left), Army surgeon general and commander of United States Army Medical Command, looks on as Soldiers from the 15th Brigade Support Battalion out of Fort Hood, Texas, provide treatment to the...
 
 
Photo by Gustavo Bahena, Public Affairs Office

Dedicated to helping victims

Photo by Gustavo Bahena, Public Affairs Office Staff of the National Training Center and Fort Irwin Advocacy Center includes professionals from Social Work Services, Family Advocacy Program and the Sexual Harassment/Assault Res...
 
 
Gustavo Bahena

‘Making a Difference’

Gustavo Bahena Guy Shields, communications and public affairs officer for Army Emergency Relief headquarters in Virginia, spoke at the AER fundraising campaign kick-off here, March 9. He emphasized that leaders can make a diffe...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin