Learn more about your meds this month
Although older adults comprise about 13% of the U.S. population, it’s estimated they account for 34% of all prescription med use and 39% of all OTC med use. The goal of this month is to empower older patients to reduce med risks, boost med benefits, and provide tools so they can stay safe when it comes to their medications.
Why is it important to understand the medications that you take and manage them properly?
As you age, your body changes, so if you’ve been taking a medication for a while, it’s important to understand how your changing body may react to the medication that you take differently. According to the FDA, changes in the digestive system can affect how fast medicines enter the bloodstream. The circulation system may slow down, which affects how fast drugs get to the liver and kidneys. The liver and kidneys may work more slowly, affecting the way a drug breaks down and is removed from the body. As a result, medicines will stay in the body longer which can cause more severe side effects.
Side effects are another big reason to understand the medications you’re taking. Side effect reactions, or interactions between two drugs, can lead to bigger health complications in older adults. An aging body is not able to recover as easily.
Remember the reason you take medications in the first place – to treat illness. It’s proven that older adults who understand more about their medication are more likely to stay on top of taking them. The more consistently you take your medication, the better your illness will be treated.
How to read your prescription label
Most older adults take three or more medications each day. As you age, managing multiple medications can grow difficult. This task is very important to your health, however.
Key elements of a prescription label include warnings, expiration dates, and pharmacy information. Follow the tips properly read and understand your prescription label, so you can properly take them.
Warnings are specific to the medicine you are taking. Always read the warnings before taking your medicine.
Medicines expire. You should not take medicine after the expiration date.
Your local pharmacy name, address and phone number, and the name of the doctor that has prescribed your medicine will be listed. Contact your pharmacist if you have any questions about your prescription.
Your prescription (Rx) number is unique to your medicine and helps the pharmacist ensure you go home with the correct prescription.
5 Tips to Help Seniors with Medication Management
This video provides tips for keeping a close eye on your medications — and understanding their purpose — which can help seniors with medication management. If you have a caregiver or are one, and you help with medication management, be sure to use these tips.