Safer Medication for Older Adults

December 2, 2015

It doesn’t matter if you’re in your sixties or older, you need to take care with over-the-counter medicines and prescriptions. If you care for older loved ones you have to keep them safe too.

As you get older, the chances that you use more medications increases. This can lead to harmful drug interactions in some cases.

As we get older our bodies can impact the way that we absorb drugs which can lead to harmful complications. The kidneys or live might not work as well as they once did which impacts how the drugs are broken down and removed from the body. The digestive system goes through changes too so the way drugs get to the bloodstream can be impacted.

Deputy director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of New Drugs RADM (Ret.) Sandra L. Kweder, M.D., F.A.C.P., says that our physiology changes as we age as we don’t develop many chronic medical conditions until our later years. The normal aging process just leads to changes in the body.

Here are four tips for using medications.

Take the Medicine as Prescribed

Listen to your health care provider and take the medication as it’s prescribed to you. You don’t want to stop taking the medication or skip doses without talking to your health care provider. If you feel better or think the medication isn’t working, you still have to take the medication as prescribed until you can consult with your doctor. If you have problems or side effects that bother you, consult with your provider in these instances too.

Have a Medication List

Keep a list of the medications you take and keep it on your person. Give a copy to your family or another love done that you have trust with. If you travel or have an emergency this list can help health care workers in assisting you.

Record the generic make or the brand name as well as the dosage and how often you take the medication. Make changes to this list when medication changes or dosages go up or down.

Have an Awareness of Potential Interactions

As you get older, you’re more susceptible to drug interactions.

Interactions may occur when:

  • One drug impacts how another drug works
  • You have a medical condition that makes a certain drug harmful to you
  • Non-alcoholic drinks or food reacts with a drug you’re taking
  • Alcohol and your medication interact

If you see different health care providers make sure they all know about your supplements as well as medications you take. The pharmacist can also tell you about possible interactions that may occur.

Review all Medications with Your Health Professional

Once a year or more schedule a review of your medications with your health care professional. You need to ensure which ones you have to still take and which one if any, you no longer need.

If a medication you need doesn’t match your budget, see if your health care provider has one that’s cheaper, but still effective and will do the same job.

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