You may have noticed many bottles of pills and other medications on the counter or cabinet of your aging parent. However, you need to understand that the regular use of five or more medicines (polypharmacy) can create serious health hazards to seniors. Every year, many people are hospitalized after emergency room visits due to adverse drug interactions, as per the reports of the CDC. This article sheds light on the significance of drug management. Read on to know more.
Medication management is a vital preventive measure to steer clear of potential health hazards in elderly people. Many seniors in nursing homes and other skilled nursing facilities take multiple medications to treat various health conditions, which might result in negative drug interactions. Some other factors that can amplify the risk of health issues related to medication mismanagement in seniors are:
Health problems caused by medication mismanagement in seniors are commonly caused by:
Some medications cannot be taken with specific drinks or foods. For instance, most of the medications cannot be consumed along with alcoholic beverages. Some other medications cannot be taken with citrus fruits like grapes as the chemicals present in these fruits can change the effects of these medications.
Elderly people suffering from various health conditions or visit multiple doctors can be prescribed more medicines than what is needed if their care is not monitored properly. Mental health issues and cognitive problems can also result in seniors taking more medications than necessary.
Seniors are forgetful and may unintentionally forget to follow the directions of their primary care doctor. Others who are on multiple medications can deliberately skip medicine doses, decide not to fill prescriptions, or discontinue treatment due to financial reasons as many prescription medicines are costly.
Taking many medications can significantly increase the risk of fractures in seniors. These medications can also elevate the danger of falls in seniors, regardless of the type of medication. About 80% of seniors take a minimum of two prescription medicines regularly and 36% take at least five prescription medicines regularly. Seniors residing in nursing homes have prescribed an average of seven medicines regularly.
These numbers will let you understand the significance of drug management for seniors.