Should You Stop Taking That Medication?

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M ore than one-third of Americans over age 55 regularly take five or more prescription medications, and 9 percent take 10 or more drugs, according to a Consumer Reports national survey released earlier this year.

Some medications may be needed long-term to help manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. But others may not be needed long-term—or may be harmful if used for too long.

“People often find themselves taking medicine that was useful at some point, but they don’t require it anymore,” says Michael Steinman, M.D., a geriatrician and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “Some are most effective and safest when you use them for a specific and limited period of time.”

 

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