To be effective, medicine must be taken safely and according to prescribing guidelines. In addition, patients and health care providers should both be vigilant about the dangers of drug interactions.
Seniors take more prescription and over-the-counter drugs than any other age group. Researchers for the National Center for Biotechnology Information estimate that 25% of people ages 65 to 69 take at least five prescription drugs to treat chronic conditions. That jumps to almost 46% for those between the ages of 70 and 79.
While doctors prescribe medication to treat a range of chronic conditions from arthritis to diabetes to high blood pressure, managing medications can be difficult for multiple reasons:
- Many meds and many prescribers — Multiple medications are often prescribed by multiple doctors who may or may not be aware of other prescriptions the patient is already taking. Taking a large number of medications can increase the risk of a drug interaction, which can be very harmful.
- Adverse side effects — Nausea, constipation, skin rashes, insomnia and dizziness are some common drug side effects.
- Lack of knowledge — Not understanding exactly what the medication is supposed to do, and discontinuing use.
- Physical challenges — Age-related physical challenges such as hearing or vision loss, dexterity issues or trouble swallowing can make it difficult to take medications as prescribed.
- Cognitive challenges — Seniors with memory loss or dementia may forget to take their medications as prescribed.
- Cost — Even with Medicare and supplemental health insurance, many medications can come with a hefty price tag.
Other factors can make medication management difficult. Read the entire article HERE to see eight tips may help you get your medications under control.
This information provided courtesy of Brookdale Senior Living, excerpted from an article written by Kim Elliott, RN, Expert on Healthy Aging