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Medication Mismanagement—A Fact of Life for the Elderly

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Medication Mismanagement—A Fact of Life for the Elderly

Medication Mismanagement

Prescription instructions make me crazy, and it is evident that medication mismanagement is a fact of life for the elderly. Let’s look at some examples…

Take one tablet by mouth daily. No Latin here. Clear as a bell, right? Let’s think for a moment. Is it better to take this one tablet early in the morning, around mid-day, or just before bedtime? Or does it even matter? Do I need to take it at the same time every day to maximize its effect? Should I take it with food? How will this medication interact with the other medications I am already taking?

Take one capsule by mouth three times daily for ten days until all are taken. Hmmm. If I divide a 24-hour day into three segments, I’ll take this medicine every 8 hours. But I can better remember to take it if I can coordinate with my meals and be done in less than 12 hours. Will my results be the same? And if I take one capsule at breakfast with the other medicine I’m already taking at breakfast, will there be any negative side effects?

I have a few years left before I will be considered elderly. I am not language-challenged in any way and am considered fairly intelligent. However, I grapple with these dilemmas every time I get a prescription filled. How in the world will I comprehend it all when I’m older, taking numerous prescriptions every day, and suffering from on-set dementia?

Isn’t it just as easy to write medication instructions that can be understood as it is to confuse the patient?

Take one tablet by mouth 4 times a day, after meals and at bedtime. Aha! I understand this one! I don’t have to divide 24 hours by four and remember to take a tablet every six hours! I can take one after breakfast, one after lunch, and one after dinner. Then I can take a 4th tablet just before I climb into bed. Simple! Now…if I just don’t skip lunch….

I can certainly understand why many elderly patients have an ongoing struggle with deciphering medication instructions. Many miscalculate and either over- or under-medicate, risking serious repercussions. Fortunately, CarpeVITA will soon offer a simple and cost-effective solution that takes the guesswork out of following a pill regimen (If you’re not already subscribed to our newsletter, be sure to do that here so you’ll be notified when that program goes live).

In the mean time, you can take advantage of the Medication Therapy Management program that is offered through Medicare Part D, which allows you to have questions answered and prescriptions reviewed to help you stay on track.

 

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/22/health/a-prescription-for-confusion-when-to-take-all-those-pills.html?_r=2

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