The Top Eight Medication Pitfalls for Seniors

by Lois Etienne on June 10, 2011

in Senior Health and Safety

On average, seniors ages 85 and older take over 6 different prescriptions.  Adverse drug reactions are very common and not always recognized by patient or physician as drug side effects. The Home Instead Senior Care® network worked with Humana Points of Caregiving® to develop the Senior Emergency KitSM, an information management tool to help older adults and their families track medications in an effort to prevent problems.

Following are the common types of medication-related problems:

1. Untreated Conditions - The patient has a medical condition that requires drug therapy, but is not receiving a drug for that condition.

2. Drug use without indication – The patient is taking a medication for no medically valid condition or reason.

3. Improper drug selection – The patient’s medical condition is being treated with the wrong drug or a drug that is not the most appropriate for the special needs of the patient.

 4. Subtherapeutic dosage – The patient has a medical condition that is being treated with too little of the correct medication.

5. Overdosage – The patient has a medical problem that is being treated with too much of the correct medication.

6. Adverse drug reactions – The patient has a medical condition that is the result of an adverse drug reaction (ADR) or adverse effect. In the case of older adults, ADRs contribute to already existing geriatric problems such as falls, urinary incontinence, constipation and weight loss.

7. Drug interactions – The patient has a medical condition that is the result of a drug interacting negatively with another drug or a food.

8. Failure to receive medication – The patient has a medical condition that is the result of not receiving a medication due to economic, psychological, sociological or pharmaceutical reasons.

 For more information, visit the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists at www.ascp.com. Check out www.SeniorEmergencyKit.com to learn more about the management tool, or contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office.

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