Taking as many medical histories as I do, I find plenty of patients who have been on medicines for years without change. No one tells you that many drugs, especially antihypertensives, anticoagulants and antidepressants, may no longer be necessary after a year or two. It's also often possible to lower your doses of these medications which also lowers your risk of side effects. So, make it a habit to revisit your list of medicines with your doc, and see if you can't pare it down once in a while.
And finally, the issue of drugs and allergies. Tracking patients' allergies has become high art in medical practice now we have great, expensive computer systems to keep them straight. Problem is that nurses and doctors can only take your word for it if you say you're allergic to a certain drug. Once it gets noted in your chart and the computer, it won't likely change. Just be sure that you're really allergic to the drugs you list. If you had a stomachache once after you took a particular pill but you washed it down with an anchovy-jalapeño pizza chances are, it might not have been the pill. And if you need that drug one day, doctors won't give it to you.
Dr. Scott Haig is an assistant clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has a private practice in the New York City area.