Imagine you had to take 7 different prescriptions each day, at different times. We will call these prescriptions A-G and include directions below.
- Drug A three times a day as needed.
- Drug B is once every 12 hours.
- Drug C is once daily in the evening.
- Drug D is one pill 4x a day.
- Drug E is 2 pills twice daily.
- Drug F is one pill 3x a day.
- Drug G is one pill before bed time.
This is a typical dosing schedule of a senior citizen. No wonder medical prescriptions can be confusing. There is only one sentence on the pill bottles and it does not give specific times of usage. As-needed meds are more difficult for seniors to understand the directions, and take them in the same manner as the rest of their prescriptions. Some seniors are taking ten pills a day of something that should only be taken once.
There are approximately 100,000 deaths a year due to poly pharmacy. This is happening with people taking over the counter drugs that interact with prescription medications. Another issue is misuse and taking other household members' drugs, according to ABC news.
Medication adherence in the elder population is a serious concern. Sometimes the medications are not covered and they take less than prescribed or not at all. Other times a pharmacy will change the brands and it confuses seniors. They won't take it because they don't believe it is the same drug. Some seniors are not coherent enough to remember if they have taken a pill or not and take it again, mixing up medications. It's important to watch how the seniors and people who are on multiple medications in your life are behaving on a daily basis. They could be over taking medications and need assistance.
Ways To Correct These Issues
Some people are fighting to change the labels on prescription medications. Instead of the bottle saying to take the medication twice a day, it would be changed to: take one pill each morning and one pill each evening. It would hopefully correct the mistake of taking two pills at once each day. We need to do something to ensure that seniors are safe. Feel free to contact us if you feel that you would like more information on this topic or to discuss it.