It’s common for seniors to make self medication mistakes, but there are things that can be done to avoid them. 90% of seniors over the age of 65 take at least one prescription and it’s shown that 55% take their medication incorrectly. Learn how to take medication correctly and avoid these mistakes.
How to Avoid Common Medication Errors
Taking medications should be taken seriously because things can go wrong fast. It can even be as extreme as life or death. Drug fatalities are rising exponentially in the United States, many of them being from medication misuse.The primary drug that causes overdoses is oxycodone, an opioid painkiller. It’s a sad fact, but 1.3 million people are injured every year from medication errors.
Monitor the Amount
Issue: Taking too much medication can lead to an overdose, which is the number one cause of medication fatalities. Also, out of all the drug errors taking too much is the most common medication error. The typical drugs that lead to overdoses are percocet, xanax, and adderall. Although, you can overdose on any type of drug. Even a seemingly innocent drug such as tylenol is the culprit for around 970 fatalities a year.
Answer: Follow the guidelines set by a doctor for how much medication should be consumed and never take more than is prescribed. Signs of overusing medication are over-sedation, mood swings, and running out of medication early.
Don’t Get Medications Confused
Issue: It can be easy to mix up medications that have similar names or even when the medication itself looks similar to other ones.
Ones with similar names are:
- Zantac for heartburn and Zyrtec for allergies
- Lamictal for epilepsy and Lamisil for fungal infection
- Celebrex for arthritis and Celexa for depression
Answer: A 7-day pill box can help in sorting out medications. Organize it in advance to avoid confusion.
Beware of Medication Interactions
Issue: 40% of seniors are taking five or more prescriptions at one time, making it easy for drug interactions to occur. The problem is medications can be prescribed from different doctors, in which every doctor doesn’t know what prescriptions are being taken. This possible mix of drugs could be dangerous.
Answer: Doctors are supposed to be aware of the medication, but mistakes can happen. It’s important for physicians to communicate with each other, but just to be clear by having all the medications printed on a piece of paper that can be shown to each doctor. Talking to your pharmacist about what is safe together is another way to avoid drug interactions.
Know What Foods to Eat
Issue: A less commonly discussed issue is food interactions with medications. For example, anticoagulants can be ineffective if foods high in vitamin K are consumed with while taking it. These foods are leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. In addition, grapefruit juice can have an interaction with 85 or more medications because it causes a change in the way the liver metabolizes the medication.
Answer: It’s important to follow the directions on the prescription labels. All questions can be answered by a pharmacist and they should instruct how to take the medication properly.
Entrust of DeSoto: A Resident-centric Memory Care Community in Dallas, Texas
Entrust of DeSoto is a memory care community that puts resident well-being at the center of everything we do. We know that each person is unique. That’s why we offer a wide range of services and lifestyle options to nourish the body and create community.
We understand the importance of home cooked meals and nutrition for seniors and this attitude is reflected in our dining experience. If you or a loved one live near Dallas, Texas and need assisted living, contact Entrust of DeSoto today to learn about our 24-hour care and find out how we can help.