Know Your Medicines: Keeping Track is Crucial for Seniors
May 5, 2014
you’re a senior on multiple medications or a caregiver entrusted with
administering those medications, you’re probably already aware of the
potential for unintentional issues that can occur, like duplications
(when two doctors prescribe the same, or a similar, drug), omissions
(stopping a medication use), and adverse drug interactions (when two or
more drugs combine to produce a harmful effect). According to the FDA,
adverse drug interactions account for 100,000 deaths each year. That’s
why medication reconciliation—maintaining an up-to-date list of all
medications and their dosages—is critical.
Start with your annual physical. Bring all of your medications with
you, in their original containers. “It’s essential to include vitamins,
herbals, and over-the- counter medications, because they can all lead to
adverse interactions,” says Anshu Bhalla, MD, a geriatric specialist
with Princeton Medicine in Monroe.
Use one Pharmacy for all your prescriptions
“Your pharmacy can alert your doctor about any potential drug interactions,” notes Dr. Bhalla.
Make sure your doctor keeps an electronic record of your changing
medication profile. “The record can be printed out for you and shared
with all of your specialists,” notes Jose Vigario, MD, a board
certified geriatrician with Princeton Medicine. If you are admitted to
the hospital or a nursing home, a copy of this electronic record should
go with you.
To find a physician affiliated with Princeton Medicine, call
1.800.FIND.A.DR (1.800.346.3237) or visit www.princetonmedicine.org.