Health News Articles

Know Your Medicines: Keeping Track is Crucial for Seniors

May 5, 2014

If 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.