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Question:

Is my mother overdosing when taking her heart medicines? 

My mother takes numerous pills each day for her cardiovascular disease. She is supposed to begin at 7am, then 9am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 11pm. When she forgets to take one, or gets up late, when she takes the meds she takes them all, sometimes up to three doses instead of the one. We try to remind her on time, but it doesn't work. Is she self-overdosing?

She is 78 years old. She has had CVD for the past twenty years. She has 5 stents, 1 small heart attack about two years ago and last year a pacemaker was implanted b/c she was passing out due to low blood pressure (they originally believed she had adult onset epilepsy). Her quality of life is pretty poor, but she does exercise and has changed her diet to help control her condition.

My mom lives in California but will be here for a visit. Do you think making an appointment for her at the Texas Heart Institute might help her manage her disease? I appreciate your reply.

submitted Nancy from Houston on 10/9/2012

Answer:

Patrick J. Cook, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Patrick J. Cook, MD    

It would seem that if she's taking medications prescribed once daily multiple times over the course of the day...then, yes, she's "self-overdosing". Based on the scant information, it is impossible to say more than that.  Unless she's MOVING here, she'd be far better served by having someone in California (i.e. her doctor) devise a treatment plan, and, perhaps to make sure it's followed, maybe have home health nurses visit (if no family member is there or up to the task). 

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Updated October 2012
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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