medication monitoringAs more adults are living longer with multiple chronic conditions, chances increase for seniors being needlessly prescribed medications.

These medications may duplicate the effect of another medication the senior is taking, show no effectiveness for its intended use or otherwise be unnecessary. This “inappropriate prescribing” can be the result of doctor error or a lack of awareness about how the medications may affect each other. Further, seniors may take medicine past their intended use, potentially creating a harmful situation in the medicine cabinet.

To reduce the chance of a parent or loved one being subjected to a dangerous or unnecessary combination of drugs, a methodical medication review may be in order. More physicians’ offices are conducting these, so be sure to ask for one if you have concerns.

Here are some steps to take in preparation for the doctor’s review: 

  1. Make a list: Identify all medications taken, along with each one’s intended purpose. If you’re unsure of a drug’s purpose, ask the doctor to explain it.
  2. Know the signs of over-treatment: This is particularly dangerous in drugs for high blood pressure and diabetes, which can increase a senior’s chance of dizziness, falls and broken bones.
  3. Take note of symptoms’ dates: If a medication was prescribed for a bothersome condition that isn’t improving – such as depression or pain – the dose should be discontinued or altered. If the condition has improved, it’s time to reassess whether it’s still serving its purpose or whether it can be discontinued.
  4. Check for interactions. Try entering their prescriptions into an online drug interaction checker. If you see any potentially problematic interactions, point it out to the doctor.
  5. Check the Beer’s list: This list published by the American Geriatrics Society contains medications that should be used very carefully (or not at all) in senior citizens. If your parent is taking a drug on the list, it’s critical to review with the physician the risks and rewards of the medication. 

To find out more information on Embassy Healthcare’s services, call 888-975-1379 or contact us online.