TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. – A doctor in Tumbler Ridge has been working with a pharmacist to reduce the effects of polypharmacy.

Dr. Charles Helm began working with pharmacist Charissa Tonnesen to discuss the effect of polypharmacy—multiple medications— in patients aged 65 years old and older.

According to a Northern Health article, “taking too many medications can lead to unwanted drug interactions, adverse side effects, extra costs, and other problems, particularly as we age and the body processes medications differently.”

Helm and Tonnesen, along with their team, reviewed patients’ medications, what doses were being taken, the length of time they’ve been using them, and how they interact with each other.

Along with reviewing medication, Helm and Tonnesen also met with patients and family members virtually or over the phone. Helm was able to use Tonnesen’s pharmacist expertise then and there in the interaction, instead of having to conduct a follow-up appointment afterward.

The goal of this project was to find out what medications could be weaned off if no longer necessary or if doses could be decreased.

In the Tumbler Ridge area, around 85 people were able to qualify for the project and nine chose to take part.

The project was funded by SharedCare.

More information can be found on Northern Health’s website.