Partnering with your primary care physician and your pharmacist to manage your medications is important for anyone, but for older adults this partnership is vital. While people over 65 make up a large percentage of those taking medications, there are many more risks involved with this age group. In fact, many times the risks can far outweigh the benefits of taking a certain medication. Medications should be prescribed with this in mind and older patients should work closely with their medical providers to ensure optimal results.
What to Know about Medications and Older Adults
If you are over 65 and have been prescribed one or more medications, here are a few things that you should be aware of:
It’s very important that your physician is aware of all medications that you are taking. Drug interactions can not only produce uncomfortable symptoms, but also can be very dangerous – even life threatening. Keep a running list of medications and update regularly as medications change. Make sure your primary care physician and any specialists are working together to manage your health. Drug interactions can be more prevalent in older adults because it is common for people this age to take more than four prescribed medications in addition to any over the counter medications they may need.
As you grow older and your body ages, you can become much more sensitive to medications. As your metabolism and organ function slows, the way that medication is absorbed into your bloodstream is affected. This affects the way that your body will react to medications. Your primary care physician should closely monitor the way that your body responds and make adjustments as necessary to minimize risks.
The Right Dosage at the Right Time
Just as it’s important that you are taking the right medications, you should also make sure you are taking the right dosage at the right time. It can be easy to forget to take your medication or IF you took your medication. Stay organized with your doses by using a system such as a pill box labeled by days of the week or month and set reminders to keep you on time for each dose.
Journal Your Response to Medications
Keeping a journal is a great way to monitor how certain medications make you feel and how your body reacts. When you go to the doctor, they will need to know what symptoms you have had so they can adjust your medication as appropriate. Medications often come with a set of instructions. Many say take with food while others say don’t take with certain kinds of food or don’t take with food at all. Make a note by each medication of the specific instructions for each one and create a detailed schedule for when to take what.
When to Call the Doctor
Your primary care physician is available to you for any questions you may have regarding your medications. Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Upset Stomach
- Sleep Changes
- Blurred Vision
- Mood Changes
- Other Symptoms
At Conroe Willis Family Medicine, we work closely with our geriatric patients and their specialists to ensure safe and effective medication management. If you are unsure if your current medication dosage is safe or correct, contact us to set up an appointment with your physician.