Does the idea of organizing your medications seem overwhelming? Do you spend hours once a week situating your daily medications in the morning and evening slots of your handy pill dispenser? How did your medication regimen get so confusing? Do you ever wonder? If you are like many individuals of the age of 60 or older, dealing with the hassle of daily medication is nothing new.
Does this scenario sound familiar?: One doctor prescribes medication for one problem or condition. Then, a second doctor or specialist decides you need a different medication for another problem. Before you blink, you find yourself taking more medication than you ever thought possible. You wonder if any of them interact with the others, but how are you to know? You trust your providers, but what if one prescribes one medication, while another addresses a separate issue, and now the two medications are fighting against each other? Wouldn’t it be great if there was one place you or your loved one could go to sort this medication debacle out once and for all?
You’ll be glad to know that, at AgeWell Medical Associates, we provide much needed medication review visits at our office. During such a visit, you or your loved one can bring in all your current medications. We will go through your medication one-by-one and determine if your current dosage is correct. We will also look at whether or not these medications interact negatively with each other.
If you have more questions about how we can help you or your loved one with your medications, please contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our senior primary care specialists.
Keep reading to learn more about medication management …
Why Do You Need Help Managing Your Medications?
When you are young and only taking a daily vitamin, it is easy to stay on top of your health. However, as you age, it gets more and more difficult to manage your daily medications. This is easy to understand. You go to a heart doctor who is concerned about a specific condition let’s say high cholesterol. They prescribe a cholesterol medication. Your primary care provider at the same time says you need something for an under active thyroid. On and on it goes, as mentioned above.
Eventually, you can find yourself taking multiple medications that are all supposed to perform the same function. You are prescribed other medications to counteract the side effects of the first medications. Some of these might even interact. At the very least, they might not be as effective when taken together. Then there is whole complication of when to take what medication during the day to contend with as well.
- A Look At The Danger Surrounding Medication Mismanagement: You might think of medication mismanagement as an aggravation, nothing more. However, it can be a downright dangerous problem. The Federal Drug Administration looked into fatal medication errors that occurred between 1993 and 1998. They found that the most common problem was improper dosage. This one factor accounted for 41% of all fatal medication errors. In addition, almost half of these fatal errors occurred in people aged 60 and older. The fact that older individuals tend to take multiple medications, like mentioned above, increases their risk of medication errors.
- What Is Medication Adherence?: We have looked at what medication mismanagement means, but what does it medication adherence mean? This simply means taking your medication properly as prescribed. Of course, this is easier said than done. Dose Health estimates more than 50% of individuals are currently not taking their medications as prescribed.
- When Medication Mismanagement Is the Most Dangerous: Medication mismanagement is the most dangerous when missing a dose will increase your risk of complications. One such condition includes mismanaging medication prescribed for cardiovascular disease, the most worrisome being missing a dose of your high blood pressure medicine. It has been shown that keeping blood pressure within healthy ranges will significantly decrease your risk of ischemic heart disease or stroke. The only way to ensure your blood pressure remains in the healthy range is to take your dose on time each and every day. Not doing so because of medication mismanagement is one way that an aggravation can become a danger.
What Are the Most Dangerous Medications to Mismanage?
Cardiovascular disease medications are one of the most dangerous to mismanage, yet they are also some of the most common to mismanage. According to Dose Health, some 50 to 80% of patients currently being treated for high blood pressure are non-adherent when it comes to taking their medication. Medication schedules can also cause issues. The more frequent a patient is supposed to take a medication each day; the more likely they are to mismanage their medication. Coumadin is one example of a medication that must be taken properly to prevent significant health problems.
What Is Coumadin?
Coumadin, also called warfarin, is a blood thinner or anticoagulant. It basically prevents blood clots from forming in the arteries or veins. This in turn reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke or other serious health conditions.
Medication Mismanagement a Multi-Pronged Problem
We have touched on taking too many medications for the same issue and not knowing when to take them as being a factor in medication mismanagement. However, there is another common cause of medication mismanagement. This is when you simply do not understand why you are taking a certain medication. This might not seem like a big deal. However, if you don’t understand why you are taking each medication and what it is doing in your body, you are more apt to stop taking it or not take it regularly. This can cause all sorts of issues long-term.
Have More Questions?
Please contact AgeWell for answers to all your questions about medications. We are happy to help learn what your medication is doing and teach you why it’s important for you to take each of them regularly.