1. Medications - A Guide to Safe and Effective Use In The Senior Population Group Mark Gruenhagen R.Ph., CSPI
Minnesota Poison Control System
2. Today’s Goal Provide you with information that will enable you to use over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications safely and effectively.
Introduce you to the Poison Center
3. Topics of Discussion Alternatives to medication use.
Buying and taking nonprescription (OTC) medications.
Things to keep in mind when a medicine is prescribed for the first time.
Guidelines for safe use of prescription medications.
4. Topics of Discussion How to store medication properly.
Common reasons why medicines don’t work.
The importance of getting involved in decision making
Patient and medication records.
Sources of drug information
5. Statistics for older adults (>65 YO) Take more medications – chronic conditions
Use 30% of all medications prescribed
Purchase 40% of all over-the counter medications
Take between 2-7 prescription medications daily
40% of all adverse drug reactions reported.
6. Definitions of Medication (Medicine) An agent such as a drug, used to treat disease or injury
Come in a variety of forms
7. Tips on safe OTC use Select OTC products that will treat only the symptoms you have
Take product EXACTLY as stated on label
Use caution in taking more than one OTC product
OTC products are only to be used for temporary symptoms
Consult pharmacist, doctor or poison center if questions about use, side effects or interactions
8. Safe Use of OTC medications begins and ends with reading the label The label will tell you all of the following…
Product name and ingredients.
Any recent significant product changes.
“Indications” - What the medicine is for.
“Usual Dosage” - Directions for use.
9. Safe Use of OTC medications begins and ends with reading the label “Warnings” - Possible side effects; When to stop taking the medicine; When to see a doctor.
“Exp. Date” - When to throw it out.
A description of tamper-resistant features to check before you buy the product.
13. Brand name vs generic medications Newer isn’t always better.
Antibiotics-UTI or respiratory
As good as brand.
Non-formulary medications may work as well.
Some prescription medications are now OTC.
14. Less expensive medication alternatives Request samples
Exercise to decrease hypertension
Ask for cheaper medication.
Special discounts for drug manufacturers
15. When medicine is being prescribed for the first time... Inform doctor about any other medication you are taking currently.
Tell doctor or pharmacist about any allergies or personal medical conditions you might have.
Be sure you fully understand all instructions before leaving the doctor’s office or pharmacy.
16. When medicine is being prescribed for the first time... Write down instructions for future reference.
Tell doctor any problems you foresee with the new medicine or with directions for use.
Know what the goal is.
Hypertension < 120/80
17. Safe use of prescription medication Never take any medicine that has been prescribed for a friend or relative.
Take medications as prescribed, either until used up or discontinue as instructed.
Do not take more medicine than prescribed.
Take medication at the proper time.
18. Safe use of prescription medication Avoid agents - either food, alcohol, other drugs - that may decrease effectiveness or increase side effects.
Recognize side effects and know what to do if they occur.
Understand indications and expectations for the prescribed agents
Periodically review medications
Get prescription refilled in advance
19. Medication Interactions Drug-Drug
20. How to store medication properly Store medicines in a cool, dry place that is away from bright light.
When possible keep medicine in the original container.
Throw away medication that is past the expiration date.
Never mix different medications in same container
Discard medications that aren’t being used, can’t read label or if outdated.
21. How to store medication properly Don’t store medications in refrigerator unless specifically instructed to do so.
If young children are present use child-resistant closures (CRCs) or take other reasonable precautions.
Replace CRCs carefully.
When traveling be aware of storage problem potential
22. How to store and use medications properly with grandchildren present 36% of exposures reported are related to grandparent medications - USCPSC
If visiting, keep medications in purses, toiletry bags and suitcases
Be careful of weekly pill minders
Avoid taking own medication in front of child – like to mimic
Place medications out of reach of children
If administering medication to child – read label
23. When medicines don’t work it may be due to... Not following the correct dosage schedule
Interactions with certain foods or beverages
Interactions with other medicines
Attempting to treat yourself with OTC remedy when problem requires professional medical attention
24. When medicines don’t work it may be due to... Complication which demand further medical attention
25. Medication Alternatives Change diet or fluid intake.
Example: Constipation when taking opiate pain medications
26. The importance of getting involved in treatment You’ll feel better about following the prescribed treatment
If problems arise from medication or the prescribed schedule changes may be possible
If target symptoms continue, or if there are any new symptoms or unusual side effects, a change in treatment may be necessary.
27. Ask your pharmacist about patient records Pharmacists now keep these records for you.
Try to stay with one pharmacy.
Keep track of all the medicines you are currently taking, as well as allergies and current medical conditions.
This is helpful if you are being prescribed medicines by more than one doctor.
28. Keep a record of the medicines you take Such record keeping can help you use medicines properly and safely.
This is useful if you are particularly ill, taking several different medications or taking medications chronically.
29. Who to call if you have a question about your medication The prescribing physician or your clinic
The poison center
30. In summary... Understand what drugs you are taking and why.
Understand endpoints of therapy
Take prescribed medications only as directed.
Know who to go to if you have questions about drug therapy or results are not satisfactory.
Be involved in your drug therapy
Store medications properly