The older we get, the more likely we are to be taking additional medications which can increase the risk for drug interactions and side effects. Also, our body naturally changes as we age. These changes can affect the way medicines work which may lead to complications. For example, changes in kidney function can affect the way certain medications leave our body.
Provided below are a few tips that can help older adults safely manage their medications:
Take Medications As Prescribed:
- As we age, we are more likely to take more medications and are therefore more likely to experience bothersome side effects from certain medications. If you have any questions regarding your medications, talk with your pharmacist or doctor.
- It is important to take all of your medications regularly, according to your health care provider’s instructions.
- Do not skip doses or stop taking a medication without first talking with your pharmacist or doctor even if you are feeling better or you think the medication is not working.
Keep a Medication List:
- Older adults are more likely to see several health care providers throughout the year. Thus, it is important to keep a current list of your medications with you at all times. You can show this list to each of your health care providers including your primary care physician, dentist, pharmacist, etc.
- It is important that all of your health care providers are aware of each medication you are taking to prevent complications and avoid duplications.
- Consider giving a friend or loved one a copy of your medication list in case of an emergency. Record each medication name, strength, and frequency. Remember to include medications you take that are over-the-counter and/ or supplements.
- As a patient of Bremo Pharmacy, you can receive a personalized medication list with monthly medication pick-ups, ask us today.
Review Medications with Your Pharmacist:
- Older adults tend to have multiple providers due to various health conditions. This can lead to confusing medication combinations. While your health and well-being is a priority for your doctor, sometimes questions you may have about your medications can be missed during appointments.
- Schedule at least one annual medication check-up of your medications with your pharmacist or doctor to confirm medications which are still necessary and which medications you can stop taking (if any). An annual review of your medications can help you avoid drug interactions, unwanted side effects and lessen costs.
- If you are unable to afford a certain medication, ask your health care provider whether there is a cheaper, yet still effective alternative.
Prepared by Serena Barden, MCV/VCU PharmD Candidate 2016
Adapted from FDA “Four Medication Safety Tips for Older Adults” -http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm399834.htm