Understanding Multiple Medications for Older Adults

Understanding Multiple Medications for Older Adults

It’s not uncommon for an older adult to have several chronic or long-term health problems. This is because many health problems are associated with aging. For instance, they may have short-term illnesses such as flu, cold, UTI or chronic conditions like diabetes, arthritis, and hypertension (high blood pressure).

However, chronic health problems are often treated with one or more medications. For example, someone may take one medication for arthritis, two for diabetes, and another for hypertension. If they get sick, they may take over-the-counter (OTC) medications to decrease pain, lower a fever, or help a stuffy nose.

Although all of these medicines may help, they may also cause complications when taken together. The body may also react in a different way to medication as we continue to age and the harmful effects can become more likely. 4 Corners Pharmacy, a trusted provider of healthcare supplies in Spring Hill, Florida, believe that their caregivers and their own family members should also be aware of the risks when older adults take multiple medications.

About 14 prescriptions a year are taken by people between 65 and 69 years old and about 18 prescriptions a year are taken by people between 80 and 84 years of age. Hence, it is a growing problem because the more medications you take, the more likely problems are to occur. In addition, it can be challenging for older adults and their caregivers to manage their medications and it is often hard for their doctors to monitor the effects of the medications as well.

Having multiple doctors can be one factor in older adults having multiple medications. This is because their doctors may not know what their other doctors are prescribing and maybe more than one of their doctors may prescribe the same or similar medications that could result in serious problems such as drug interactions, side effects, fatal overdosing, and other problems.

Polypharmacy is the use of several medications—including OTCs, prescriptions, and dietary supplements. Most people think that taking multiple OTCs are not as serious as prescriptions drugs but some OTC medications and dietary supplements may still interact with each other or prescription drugs which can cause side effects. And because older adults’ bodies react to these medicines variedly, they are widely known to be at higher risks of having problems with OTC medications.

To prevent the problems, your doctor may:

Work carefully with any other doctors who are caring for you
Make sure you comprehend how to take all of your medications
Order blood examinations to monitor some medications
If you’re older than 65 years, make use of the Beers Criteria, a guide to check for high-risk medication protection
Evaluate your medications at each office appointment and take you off of drugs you don’t need
Tell you about side effects

You should ask your doctor questions about your medications and write down their answers. Do not be afraid to ask if all of your medications are necessary. For more information and assistance with your medications, call 4 Corners Pharmacy today! We are the most trusted source of healthcare supplies in Spring Hill, Florida!

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