Take Your Medication Safely

As we age, it is not uncommon to take more than nine medications each day. Unfortunately, also as we age we are faced with memory loss, or just forgetfulness, which can cause us to inadvertently make errors, take inappropriate dosages or miss dosages of our prescription drugs and negatively impact our health.

Did you know that 5 out of 6 adults over 65 years of age take one prescription drug while half take more than three a day? The Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services recognize that a senior is at risk when they take nine or more meds.  Because taking prescription medications and supplements pose a great medical risk to the nation’s seniors, the Poison Control Program, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) have prepared an educational program to provide seniors across the country tips to stay safe.

Tips for safe self-administration of prescription medications:

  1. Learn as much as possible about your medications. Ask your doctor, pharmacist or other health professionals about the drugs you are taking. You need to know how much and what time to take each medicine and why you are taking it. Whether to take on an empty stomach, before a meal, after a meal, at night, only in the morning, with other prescription drugs or over the counter preparations or with a meal are just a few things you should be aware of to stay safe.
  1. Medication interactions can result in a medicine performing poorly or increasing a certain physical response. Some foods can interfere with the action of certain drugs. Herbs and supplements can also interfere with the effectiveness of some medications. Know how your prescriptions and herbal supplements might interact. You may need to avoid certain foods, quantities of those foods or ask your doctor if another medication or a new time schedule can be substituted to prevent dangerous interactions.
  1. It is important to keep available a current list of the medications being taken in case of emergency. Your medication list should include the full name of the medication, the dosage amount you take, the time of day you take it and the name of the doctor who prescribed it. You might also keep the name and phone number of the pharmacy you prefer on the list for easy reference

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