Diabetes Forecast

What Is Polypharmacy?

By Allison Tsai ,
plastic pill organizer


Older people living alone with diabetes are typically on multiple medications, sometimes as many as 15 or more, because they often have coexisting diseases, says Bobbi Kolonay, RN, BSN, MS, CCM, a certified holistic nurse, president of Options for Elder Care, and a  board member of the Aging Life Care Association. The various medications have side effects and may interact with each other, which could be confused with hypoglycemia. Molly McElwee-Malloy, RN, CDE, CPT, a nurse and diabetes educator with the University of Virginia Health System’s Diabetes Education Management Program, says it’s important to have a diabetes educator or doctor evaluate your medications every three to four months and ask these questions:

  • Are all of these medications necessary?
  • Are they causing side effects?
  • Are the side effects being managed?
  • Are the side effects recognizable and distinguishable?

If you have diabetes and are on multiple medications, it’s possible to live alone and remain safe. Learn how to stay safe while living on your own here.



Take the Type 2
Diabetes Risk Test