The Norwegian government’s “Demensplan 2020”, states that nursing home residents are using seven medicines on average, and that one out of three residents are using at least one medicine he or she does not need.
Reports are even showing that health can improve by removing unnecessary medicines.
Overmedication, also known as polypharmacy, can be difficult to avoid.
First, there are multiple variants of drug interactions: Drug-drug interactions (one medicine interacting with another), drug-food/beverage interactions (interactions with what you eat or drink) and drug-disease interactions (your medical condition interacting with the way a drug works). You may even see a fluctuating health pattern, correlating with the varying presence of any interactions.
Second, many health aspects can be hard for us humans to judge objectively. Has the mood been better while taking this new drug? Are there fewer episodes of confusion? Answering these kinds of questions — the same kind a doctor asks to find out how things are going — requires discipline, objectivity, and a really good memory!
Tools helping us to systematically track the effect of medicines may help to improve a person’s medication regimen. MedMonitor is one such new tool.
MedMonitor is a combined medicine alarm and health journal app for Android and iOS. The app lets you track how your health (or the health of a person you care for) is observed to change over time, coupled with the drugs and dosages taken. The technology has been designed to be as easy to use as possible, even for people with little or no experience with apps or smartphones.
MedMonitor has been developed in collaboration with test users, as an aid for people with dementia and their carers. The app has now been released in Norway — for both iOS and android — and with more countries to follow soon.
You can read more about MedMonitor here (in Norwegian).
The MedMonitor project has been implemented together with Nasjonalforeningen for folkehelsen, and has been made possible by Dam Foundation.