One in three people experience at least one medicine-related problem. Have you or the person you are caring for experienced any of these problems? If so, be sure to discuss the problem with your healthcare professional:
- Allergic reactions: when your body’s defense system reacts to a medicine and tries to protect your body against it. Common reactions include hives; itching or a rash; difficulty breathing; shortness of breath.
- Side effects: undesired effects of a medicine that can occur even when the medicine is taken correctly at the recommended dose. Common side effects associated with medicines include headache, dizziness, and upset stomach; rare side effects include liver damage or failure.
- Overuse: taking more medicine than prescribed by your healthcare professional or recommended on the label instructions. Overuse may happen by accident—by forgetting what, when, and how much of a medicine you’ve taken, for example, or on purpose, hoping that additional medicine might relieve more pain.
- Under use: taking less medicine than prescribed or recommended, or missing or skipping a dose.
- Not following instructions: Stopping a medicine sooner than your healthcare professional recommends or not understanding the label instructions or instructions provided to you.
- Taking/sharing medicines: Taking medicines that are not prescribed for you.
- Drug interactions: When a medicine interacts with another medicine, food or alcohol in a way that changes the way the drug acts in the body. If you take multiple medicines (prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), dietary and herbal supplements) as many older adults do, it’s important to be aware of any potential interactions that can occur. Ask your healthcare professional for guidance when new medicines are prescribed.
Safely Discard Medicines
If the person in your care is taking multiple medicines—or even only one or two medicines regularly—you may wonder what to do with containers of medicines that are no longer needed.
Please dispose of unused medicines responsibly. For more information on how to properly dispose of medicine safely, visit: www.smarxtdisposal.net
Common Obstacles for Older Adults to Taking Medicines as Prescribed
- Similar shape and color of medicines can be confusing and make distinguishing between multiple medicines difficult when multiple medicines are needed
- Vision problems and hard-to-read instructions on a medicine container can make following label instructions difficult or impossible
- Memory loss can interfere with remembering the timing and dosages of medications and tracking medicine dosages and timing
- Lack of social support for older adults can lead to isolation and confusion that causes an inability and not being able to focus on medicine needs
- Caregivers may not understand or be aware of medicine needs and regimen