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Overmedication is an inappropriate medical treatment that occurs when a patient takes unnecessary or excessive medications. This may happen because the prescriber is unaware of other medications the patient is already taking, because of drug interactions with another chemical or target population, because of human error, or because of undiagnosed medical conditions.
Overmedication can also occur when consumers take more medication than is prescribed or as labeled on over-the-counter products—either intentionally or unintentionally—or when consumers unknowingly take both prescription and nonprescription drug products containing the same active ingredients. For example, overmedication[dubious — see talk page] (in the form of acute overdose) can occur when a prescription drug like Vicodin, which contains both hydrocodone and acetaminophen, is taken along with the nonprescription product Tylenol, which contains acetaminophen as the active ingredient. In other words, overmedication can be caused by both prescribers and consumers or their caretakers.
Another important instance of overmedication occurs when consumers are either prescribed or take additional prescribed or OTC drugs which produce the same or similar therapeutic effects. For instance, if a patient is taking a prescription strength ibuprofen product and also uses a naprosyn product—whether prescription or OTC strength—this, too, can constitute overmedication, can be dangerous, and can be costly to the patient in overall health care costs. Template:Medical citation needed Often consumers/patients overmedicate themselves by taking their medications at shorter intervals than prescribed or than container labels specify. As a result, medications may accumulate at higher levels, causing undesired side effects, sometimes serious, or even fatal. Such situations are often reversed through targeted deprescribing by members of the medical team.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Adverse effect
- Beers Criteria
- Classification of Pharmaco-Therapeutic Referrals
- Drug augmentation
- Drug dosage
- Drug interaction
- Polydrug abuse
- Prescription cascade