Most seniors are prescribed several different medications with different dosages taken at different times of the day. With this number, a mix-up can easily happen. That is why safe medication management is vital for senior health.
Taking medications the right way is crucial for treating an elder’s existing health condition and managing its symptoms. Having a simple system can help avoid common medication mistakes seniors make. This includes missing doses, taking the wrong prescription drug, or taking more than the doctor prescribed.
Tips To Live By
According to studies, about 87% of seniors take one prescription drug, while 36% take five prescription drugs or more. Not only that but, 38% of seniors use common pharmaceutical drugs or over-the-counter medications. To practice safe medication management, here are some tips that can help you out:
Take Your Medication As Prescribed
It is essential to take your medications regularly as instructed by your healthcare provider. Moreover, if you are experiencing some side effects or have questions, it is best to communicate with your doctor openly.
It will help if you don’t take any prescription drug your healthcare provider did not prescribe you. Doing so can be very dangerous. It is best to keep in mind the following:
- Misuse of prescription drugs, such as taking another person’s prescription opioids, for example, can lead to addiction;
- If you are currently having some symptom, like pain, and is taking someone else’s pain medication instead of consulting your doctor, your health problem might get even worse;
- It is essential to know that doctors don’t just prescribe medications easily. They tend to consider several factors like drug interactions and allergies. Hence, taking medications not instructed by your doctor can lead to severe reactions or unexpected side effects.
It is also best not to skip any doses or abruptly stop taking your prescription drugs without talking to your doctor first. This is true even if you feel like you are getting better or think that the medication is not working. Some prescription drugs, such as antibiotics, need to be continually taken even if the infection stops bothering you for the drug to work properly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that about 125,000 yearly deaths in the United States are due to medicines not being taken correctly. Not taking your medication as prescribed by your healthcare provider can worsen your existing health problem or lead to hospitalization.
Have a Medication List
It is recommended to write what medication you are taking and keep that list. Always make sure that the list is up-to-date. Moreover, you can also consider giving a loved one or friend a copy in case of an emergency.
The following is what your medication list should have:
- Over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and herbal preparations you take;
- Your prescription drugs’ brand name and generic name;
- How often you take the medication;
- The dosage of your medications;
- Why you are taking the prescription drug;
- The number of the local pharmacy where you usually fill your prescriptions.
Ensure Proper Storage of Medicines
One of the ways to make sure your prescription drugs are always safe and effective is by providing them with proper storage. Medicines that are not properly stored might not work as well or might even be harmful to you even if they are not yet expired.
It will help if you make sure to read the storage instructions for your prescription drugs. Several medicines require to be stored in a refrigerator. On the other hand, other prescription drugs cannot be exposed to high temperatures.
Most of the time, prescription drugs require to be stored in a cool and dry place. This can be a storage box, high dresser drawer, kitchen cabinet, or closet shelf. It will help if you put them away from sinks and hot appliances.
Most people store their medicines in the bathroom. However, this is not recommended. The bathroom is usually exposed to a wide fluctuation of humidity and heat, which might damage the prescription drugs.
Check Out Potential Side Effects and Medication Interactions
Medication interactions tend to occur when:
- A supplement or herbal preparation can affect the action of another prescription drug you are taking;
- An existing medical condition makes a specific medication potentially harmful;
- A certain type of non-alcoholic drink, alcohol, or even food, reacts with your prescribed medicine;
What you need to do to avoid harmful medication interactions is research more about it. Learn about the potential side effects and medication interactions your prescription drug might have. Furthermore, you can also ask your doctor about it to avoid any potential harm.
In a Nutshell
Most seniors have multiple medications prescribed by their doctor. Not knowing about safe medication management can often lead to common medication mistakes, thus harming a senior’s health. Common medication mistakes include missing doses, taking the wrong prescription drug, or taking more than the doctor prescribed.