Generally, as age increases, so do the number of medications that people are prescribed. As humans age, our bodies continually change. Because of these changes, there is a higher risk of hazards for those who take different medications. This is why safe and appropriate medication use is extremely important. While medication management may seem overwhelming or complicated initially, it’s not as daunting as it seems. Here are some key tips for medication management to aid in preventing any potential problems.
Know Your Medications Inside and Out
Patients prescribed prescription medications should keep a known, written record of what medicines they are taking, and update this list with their physicians when any changes occur. This list should include the prescription names, who prescribed it, the drug’s purpose, how often it’s taken, and how much is taken. Talk to your healthcare provider about not just prescription medicines you take, but also any nonprescription meds, herbs, or supplements.
A considerably wise approach is to have an annual spring cleaning of the medicine cabinet—pick any season—and review everything with a doctor to ensure all medications are necessary and beneficial. Learn about each medication you take and ask any questions about your personal medicinal regimen to a doctor or pharmacist.
Organize Meds Efficiently and Safely
One of the key tips for medication management is to organize medications well. This means to pay close attention to all aspects of drug safety. Check on a drug’s expiration date, as well as where it should be specifically stored. Exposure to high heat should be generally avoided as well as exposure to moisture. These elements can affect certain medications. Storing medication in the bathroom is common, but it should be avoided if possible. Try the living room or a bedroom instead. Medicines should also be kept out of access and out of reach from children or pets. It’s best to invest in pillboxes or dispensers to plan out a regime for several days or several weeks in advance.
Be Aware of Side Effects and Drug Interactions
Increased sensitivity to medications is common for older adults. Medications are powerful and have the ability to affect more than you think with possible side effects. Even commonly prescribed or OTC drugs, such as Tramadol or Advil, are medications that can cause false positives on drug tests.
Mixing medications can be dangerous by creating a side effects loop or continuity cycle. Keep an eye out for any new effects or worsening changes that appear to be taking place from your medication regimen. Side effects can include recognizable changes such as nausea or dizziness or any lifestyle revisions such as sleep patterns, diet issues, or work and activities schedules. Your doctor may need to adjust your routine for the best health benefit in order to better balance your intake of medication.