The over 65 population
in America purchases and consumes more medications than any
other age group. According to the Food and Drug
Administration, they purchase more than 30 percent of all
prescription medication and more than 40 percent of over the
counter (OTC) medicines. Estimates are that as many as 90
percent of seniors use either herbal remedies or vitamins.
Drug interactions are especially a concern for seniors. Some
experts estimate that seniors take an average of four to five
medications on a daily basis. If physicians aren’t aware of all
medications a senior is taking, there is the potential for dangerous
To guard against an interaction,
make a list of all medications, vitamins and herbal remedies that
your loved one is taking. Also, beside each medication, write the
contact information of the physician who prescribed the medicine.
Some physicians may not realize how many other doctors their
patients are seeing. Take this list to each doctor appointment and
be sure that it is kept current.
Avoid Pharmacy Shopping:
With the rising cost of
medications, many seniors choose to shop for the cheapest price
without realizing the benefits of staying with one pharmacy.
Poly-pharmacy, the “technical” name for pharmacy shopping, is often
a source of confusion and drug interactions. The patient frequently
overlooks the pharmacist as someone who can be of tremendous help to
them. Pharmacists can often spot drug interactions, possible
problems, and can possibly recommend OTC medications that can safely
be taken with prescription medicines. Include the pharmacist’s
information on the medication list that you provide toe ach doctor.
When doctors call in a prescription, make sure that they use the
same pharmacy each time.
Throw away Outdated
Some people prefer to keep
medications longer to save money on prescription costs. Don’t. Some
medicines degrade over time with exposure to light and heat. Plus,
you may need a different medicine the next time. If you rely on
medications you have at home instead of advice from your physician,
you could be headed for trouble. Be sure to call your physician
before using medication that you have at home.