The Top 3 Medication Problems In The Elderly

By Paul Henry / in , , , , , , , , , , /

Good afternoon my name is Kristen I’m the
co-founder of RxLive and I’m a clinical pharmacist. Thanks for joining me today. Today I wanted to talk to you about the top
three medication concerns in the elderly and aging population. As we age, we’re all at an increased risk
for additional health problems. As a result, the majority of elderly patients
take prescription medications. These prescription medications can improve
health and outcomes when taken properly. However there are a number of barriers to
proper use. The top three medication problems that I’ve
identified include: 1. Inappropriate use 2. Non-adherence (or not taking the medication
properly) and 3.Taking an unnecessary medication. Each of these problems are very common. The first, inappropriate use means medications
that increase the risk of adverse side effects, like falls or memory loss. The second, non-adherence has a number of
factors that play into it. It could be the cost of the medication, the
pill burden, how many pills the patient has to take, perhaps they’re experiencing an unpleasant
side effect, or perhaps they just don’t want to take the medication. It just depends on the particular patient
and you really have to delve into it to determine why a patient is not taking their medication
as prescribed. And then the third, taking an unnnecessary
medication, includes medications that are dosed too high, medications that have been
taken for too long, and should be discontinued, medications that non longer have an indication:
perhaps you had acid reflux at one point, but you no longer have that problem. Or, medications that are being used without
adequate monitoring. So, how do we advocate for change? What are some strategies that we can use to
help the elderly population do better with their medications? Well, many medicare beneficiaries are eligible
for an annual complete medication review, provided by their pharmacist for free. That provides them the opportunity to sit
down with a trained pharmacist and discuss their medication concerns and any barriers
to adherence. The pharmacist then follows up with the medical
team and offers some solutions. Also, you can discuss with your doctor at
your doctor’s appointment if you might be taking medications that are considered inappropriate
or high risk for anyone over the age of 65, and then see if there’s an alternative that
you could take. Another way that you can solve one of these
problems is using a medication reminder tool. There’s quite a few tools at your disposal:
there’s medication reminder apps for smart phones, there’s automated pill boxes or reminder
caps for your pill vial itself, and some retail pharmacies offer free reminder text messaging,
some insurers provide free text messaging, free phone calls, free emails to help you
remember your medication. So that’s just a couple of tools in your toolbox
to target these top three medication problems in the elderly. I hope this was helpful today, thanks for
joining me! For more information, check us out at
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