Four Medication Safety Tips for Older Adults

As reported in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Health Information Updates RSS Feed dated 06/05/2014.

Whether you’re settling into your sixties or heading into your ninth decade, you should be extra careful when taking prescription and over-the-counter medicines. And if you’re caring for older loved ones, you should help them stay safe.  The older you get, the more likely you are to use additional medicines, which can increase the chance of harmful drug interactions.  And, as we age, body changes can affect the way medicines are absorbed, leading to potential complications. For instance, your liver and kidneys may not work as well, which affects how a drug breaks down and leaves your body. And changes in your digestive system can affect how fast drugs get to your bloodstream.

“There is no question that physiology changes as we age. Many chronic medical conditions don’t even appear until our later years,” explains RADM (Ret.) Sandra L. Kweder, M.D., F.A.C.P., deputy director of the FDA Office of New Drugs. “It’s not that people are falling to pieces; some changes are just part of the normal aging process.”

The FDA four important tips:

  • Take Medicine as Prescribed
  • Keep a Medication List
  • Be Aware of Potential Interactions
  • Review Medications with Your Health Care Provider

“As a society, we have become reliant on pharmaceuticals to help us attain a longer and higher-quality life. It’s a wonderful success of Western medicine,” adds Dr. Kweder. “The goal should be for each of us to access that benefit but respect that medicines are serious business. To get the most out of them, you should take them with great care and according to directions.”

Medication errors can be serious, permanent and even fatal.  The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., are concerned for the safety of senior citizens and their families and represent clients in lawsuits involving medication errors and prescription errors.

By:  Adam K. Levin, Esquire, personal injury and medical malpractice attorney in Reading, Berks County, PA, and Pottsville, Schuylkill County, PA.

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