Averting Overmedication and Harmful Medication Reactions
From The AGS Foundation for Health in Aging; 4/4/08
Elderly adults are more likely than younger people to have long-term health problems such as arthritis and heart disease and to take prescription drugs on a frequent basis.
Because more mature adults often have more than one health problem, it isn’t unusual for them to take several different prescription medicines, in addition to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, nutritional vitamins and supplements.
As a consequence, older adults run a higher risk of overmedication and unwanted drug responses. Older adults may end up taking too many drugs or drugs that interact in detrimental ways. In contrast to younger people, older adults are likely to be more sensitive to the effects of a good number of prescription drugs.
Every single year, more than a third of older US citizens have at least 1 unwanted drug reaction. Often, these reactions are life-threatening.
To reduce the possibilities of overmedication and drug reactions, the American Geriatrics Society’s Foundation for Health in Aging recommends the following.
(Note: If you care for an elderly person who requires assistance with medications, making sure that these guidelines are taken can help prevent overmedication and associated problems. )
Ask before taking an OTC Not all over-the counter (OTC) prescription drugs are suitable for elderly patients. Even though no prescription is needed for OTCs, some can cause side effects in older persons. In addition, a number of OTC medications—like ibuprofen and naproxen—might have different names but belong to the identical drug class or category. Using both of these is equivalent to consuming a dual dosage. OTC drugs may additionally interact with your prescribed medications. For these reasons, you should always check with your health care service provider before taking OTC drugs.
Make a List
Most pharmacies now have computer systems that will alert the pharmacist of possible drug interactions.
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