Taking medications is a fact of life for most of us and yet, taking medications as prescribed is not a fact of life for at least 50% of people who do NOT follow their doctor's orders for prescription medications.
The cost of medications is staggering.
The cost of not taking medications as prescribed is even greater.
- Older people experience adverse events from medications at three times the rate of younger people.
- While older people make up approximately 13% of the population, they account for over 50% of the deaths and 40% of the hospitalizations due to adverse drug events.
Therefore, it is ESSENTIAL that older people become active participants in the decisions that are being made regarding their medications.
It is also imperative that ALL people, regardless of age, follow their doctor's orders for prescription and non-prescription drugs.
Below is a handy checklist of medication safety tips that may help you avoid an adverse event. You may find it helpful to post it in an easily accessible area.
Medication Safety Tips
- When you receive a new prescription, ask your doctor
- What is the name of the new medication?
- What is it used for?
- How should I take it?
- How long will I need to take it?
- What are the side-effects?
- How much does it cost?
- Is there a generic equivalent?
- How much does the generic cost?
- Is there a difference in the performance/side effects of the generic?
- Bring a current list of medications with you EVERY time you visit a doctor, even if the medications have been described by other doctors.
- Notify your pharmacist if you cannot open a childproof container.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is okay to take non-prescription (over the counter medications) drugs with prescription drugs.
- Keep all your medications in ONE place.
- Keep all your medications in a safe, dry place, out of the reach of children. Be especially mindful of this when you are with children. Remember to secure any medicines that you carry in your pocket or purse.
- Wash your hands before taking your medications.
- Turn on the lights and read the bottle label before taking your medication. Ask your pharmacist to use larger print on the labels if necessary.
- Take medicine as close to scheduled times as possible. If you miss a dose, consult your doctor.
- If you have difficulty in remembering to take your medicines, talk with your physician or pharmacist about a reminder system.
- Do not skip, double up or stop taking your medications before consulting with your doctor.
- If you feel a medicine is causing side-effects, call your doctor. Never stop taking medicine suddenly on your own.
- NEVER save old medications for future use. They may weaken or change.
- If the dose of a current medication has CHANGED, ask your doctor or pharmacist to re-label it for you.
- NEVER SHARE OR BORROW MEDICATIONS.
- ALWAYS take all the medication ordered by your doctor.
- If you have allergies to medicine, food, etc., wear an allergy alert tag at ALL times.
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Your health and quality of life are often determined by what medicines you take and how you take them. Should you need assistance in obtaining your medications or in remembering to take your medications, please contact Arcadia at 877-484-4183. Remember, you can reduce your risk of adverse reactions by being involved and active in decisions made about YOUR medications.