A recent study confirmed what many of us have known for years…those of us that are older are more at risk for medications errors.
It makes sense. Think about it. Who takes the most medications, sees the most providers, has the most test, and tend to have more health concerns? In addition to all that is the issue of how our bodies function as they get older. For example, the metabolic processes in the kidney may not be what they use to be.
This is an issue I see on a daily basis – and it confirms for me the importance of having a primary care provider. As such, I get reports from specialists and see what they have prescribed or recommended. I also request that people put ALL the medications they are taking into a bag and bring them into their appointment. This includes over the counter medication. I’m amazed at how many people take too much tylenol (which is hard on your liver) for example.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones?
- If you don’t have a primary provider – get one. While I am biased toward Nurse Practitioners, the choice is up to you. Just find one you are comfortable with.
- Choose a primary pharmacy. When you get all of your medications from one pharmacy, they are much more likely to detect problems before they occur.
- Whenever you visit a health care provider – be it a specialist, the ER, etc…make sure they know what medications you are taking.
- Create and carry with you a list of ALL medications, nutritional supplements, herbs and over-the-counter medications you take. Include in this list any allergies along with what reaction you have.
- Unless your health condition dictates otherwise (and your provider would have told you), keep your body hydrated…drink lots of water.
Your best bet of course is to avoid unnecessary medication all together. Eat right, exercise daily, and stay healthy!
(c)2006 Barbara C. Phillips, NP