Posts Tagged ‘medication’

Seniors in Joliet take medication safety seriously

Is it a given that the older a person is, the more medications he or she takes? Not necessarily, but people are more likely to develop one or more chronic illnesses with advancing age. It’s wonderful that appropriate medication can help seniors live longer and more active lives, but there is a safety concern. Taking multiple medications increases the risk for drug interactions, mix-ups, and the potential for side effects.

According to Pfizer, the effects of aging cause older adults’ bodies to process and respond to medicines differently than those of younger people. Age-related changes in the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and heart are among the contributing factors causing elderly people to be more vulnerable to overdose and troubling side effects.

Also, age-related challenges like memory loss or poor eyesight can make it harder to follow instructions for taking medication.

If a person is seeing several doctors at once, there’s a chance these doctors may not all be communicating with each other, and the person may not be reporting all medications at each visit. This lack of communication among doctors leads to what is called “a prescribing cascade,” according to AARP. This means a doctor may prescribe medication to treat what he or she believes is a medical condition, when in fact the medication will really be treating a side effect of another drug that the patient has neglected to report.

The more medications the patient is on, the more risks there are for side effects and risky medication interactions. There are two kinds of interactions:

• Drug-drug interactions happen when two or more medicines react with each other to cause unwanted effects or make either medicine’s effects more or less potent. Such interactions may also be caused by alcohol, nutritional supplements or herbal products, and nonprescription medicines as well as prescription medications.

• Food-drug interactions happen when medicines react with foods or beverages. For example, grapefruit juice should not be taken with certain blood pressure – lowering medications. And dairy products should be avoided with some antibiotics and antifungal medications.

Medication Dos and Dont’s from WebMD:

• Do take each medication exactly as it has been prescribed.
• Do make certain that all doctors know about all medications being taken.
• Do let doctors know about using any over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements and herbs.
• Do use the same pharmacy to fill all prescriptions. Their computers are a boon to accurate tracking.
• Do keep medications out of the reach of children. Use the childproof safety caps.
• Don’t change the dose of schedule with consulting the doctor.
• Don’t use someone else’s medication.
• Don’t crush or break pills unless told to do so by the doctor.
• Don’t use medication past its expiration date.
• Don’t store medications in places that are too hot or too cold. The bathroom cabinet may not be the best place for medications.

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