December 12, 2016

Managing MedicationOn average, a senior takes approximately 15-18 different prescriptions every day, so it is not hard to understand why so many seniors miss doses or take incorrect doses of their medications. But there are health risks that happen because of these medication errors. Thus, the pill organizer was created: such a basic idea to place the right medications into the right little boxes every day. Problem resolved, right?

Incredibly, medication management research recently points to a much different outcome. Older persons familiar with taking medications from the original packaging who changed to a pill organizer were overwhelmed with health problems, including falls, hypoglycemia, and in one case, someone unable to get out of the bathtub until eventually a rescue 12 hours later.

The research included 29 aging adults over age 75 who weren’t utilizing pill organizers and were, inadvertently, failing to take their prescriptions as directed by their doctors. For 8 weeks, half of the seniors began using a pill organizer, as the other half continued taking their prescriptions as they always had.

The health concerns, surprisingly, were realized only in the seniors who had started to use the pill organizers. The idea behind these surprising results comes from the concept that the seniors were skipping doses or taking their prescriptions incorrectly before using the pill organizer, and were feeling negative effects from taking full doses of their medications.

Lead researcher Dr. Debi Bhattacharya emphasizes the need for individuals planning to change to a pill organizer to first check with their physician or pharmacist to confirm dosage amounts. And she explains, “People who are already using a pill organizer without any ill effects should not stop using it as they do seem to help some patients take their medication as prescribed. It’s the switching stage which appears to be the danger.”

Continuum’s elder care services of St. Louis, MO can assist with medication reminders to make sure aging adults take prescriptions when they are supposed to, transportation to get prescriptions, and help with noting any side effects that can be reported to the physician immediately. Contact us for assistance with keeping your senior loved one healthy and safe.