Preventing Polypharmacy in Older Adults

Kathleen Woodruff MS, CRNP


Am Nurs Journal. 2010;5(10) 

In This Article

Dietary and Herbal Preparations

Dietary supplements (such as vitamin and mineral supplements) and herbal preparations have become popular. For instance, ginkgo biloba, St. John's wort, echinacea, ginseng, garlic, saw palmetto, kava, and valerian root are promoted for their purported use in preventing or treating various health problems, including depression and the common cold. A person may start taking these preparations after hearing about them from friends, family, or the media. And because they're available OTC, patients may not think they should mention them to healthcare providers. Yet these preparations can interact with prescribed medications and lead to serious adverse effects. So be sure to ask the patient about all preparations—not just prescription drugs—he or she is taking.