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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, because of undiagnosed medical conditions or because of conflicts of interest in the pharmaceutical industry, creating-over promotion (via advertising campaigns, sales to private practice Doctors, or biased or altered medical studies) causing widespread unnecessary use of a specific medicine, or unnecessary dosage of a medicine, due to excessive profit motives in the pharmaceutical industry. This is also sometimes described as the commercialization of medicine.
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 ] (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.[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.
Persons who feel that they are overmedicated tend to not to follow their physician's instructions for taking their medication.
Overmedication of children
- Fincke, Benjamin Graeme; Miller, Donald R.; Spiro, Avron (March 1998). "The interaction of patient perception of overmedication with drug compliance and side effects". Journal of General Internal Medicine 13 (3): 182–185. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.1998.00053.x.
- Nakamura, Richard K. (26 September 2002). "NIMH · Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders: Are Children Being Overmedicated?". nimh.nih.gov. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- Drake, Daniele (16 December 2013). "I overmedicated my kid: No, it isn’t ADHD — Big Pharma’s attention obsession puts children at risk - Salon.com". salon.com. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- Park, Madison (24 May 2014). "Little people, lots of pills: Experts debate medicating kids". cnn.com. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- Medicating Kids, a, April 2001 video and article series presented by PBS
- Overmedication: Are Americans Taking Too Many Drugs?
- Health Care in Crisis: Overmedicating America