If you take multiple medications for different conditions, the importance of medication management is critical.
Because older adults metabolize drugs differently, these medications can become harmful if not taken properly.
According to an article in American Nurse Today, 44 percent of men and 57 percent of women older than age 65 take five or more medications per week; about 12 percent of both men and women take 10 or more medications per week.
Here are tips for safe medication management.
1. Ask your doctor if the dosage is age-appropriate.
Confirm with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure the dosage on the prescription is correct for your age, and ask if you should start with a lower dose and taper upward.
2. Bring a medications list to the doctor with you.
Take your list of prescriptions or bring the medications themselves to the doctor’s office with you. This will allow your provider to have all the information necessary to accurately determine any potential adverse effects or drug interactions.
3. Get a second opinion.
Not all doctors are the same, and some unfortunately prescribe medications inappropriately or in excess. If you are concerned about a prescription or diagnosis, don’t hesitate to reach out for a second opinion.
4. Know the side effects of your medications.
Understanding the potential side effects and interactions will help you be aware of any health changes that may occur as a reaction to new medications. If you do notice an adverse change, contact your physician right away.
5. Minimize the number of pharmacists you use.
Keeping the number of pharmacists – as well as doctors – to a minimum will allow those who care for you to coordinate their efforts. Use only one pharmacy to fill your prescriptions to allow for another review of your medications and help ensure proper dosage. This will help reduce the risk of possible adverse drug effects and interactions.
Heritage Woods of Minooka, an Assisted Lifestyle Community for the Older Adult, 701 Heritage Woods Drive, Minooka, IL, 60447, 815-467-2837, www.gardant.com/heritagewoodsminooka