Most Common Medication Mistakes and the best ways to Avoid Them.

Taking Too Many Pills.  The Problem: Overdosing remains the #1 cause of medication related deaths.  This was reported by the FDA study about drug errors.  For example, the top Prescription drugs that have the most chance of abuse are the most common culprits. Other Examples,  prescription painkillers like: Ocecotyn.  Another example, , anti-anxiety prescriptions such as Xanax.  Moreover, stimulants like Aderall.  In fact, people are able to  overdose on any kind of prescription medications.   In fact, overdoses of the commonly used medication Tylenol have been linked to as many as 1,200 fatalities in 2016.  Reported by the FDA in a report by ProPublica.

Some older adults are unable to use an Auto pill dispenser with Locks

In fact, Seniors need to take all their medications properly.  By the same token, depending on which medications are missed, this can cause serious effects on an older person’s health.  In addition the cost of medications. Even with prescription drug coverage provided by Medicare Part D, the monthly costs of medications can be high. This is a burden for older adults.  Conversely, often have limited financial resources.

 It can also cause people to skip taking certain medications. In addition many will  not fill prescriptions for more expensive medications.  An example, inhalers.

There are of course many other medication-related problems that can occur. Especially when hospitalizations or multiple doctors are involved. But the ones above are especially common when it comes to the primary care of aging adults.

What You Can Do abut Medication Errors

Recognize your pills.  In an ideal world, every older adult would have access to a reliable process for reviewing medications, ensuring that the benefits outweigh the risks and burdens, and monitoring for side-effects and problems.  However, as many of you know, our healthcare system is not yet ideal for aging adults. So if you are caring for an older person and want to be proactive about checking on medications.  Here are some specific things you can do.

Review the Beers List of Potentially Inappropriate Medications for Older Adults. See if your older relative is taking medications on the list. This document includes a comprehensive list of “anticholinergic” drugs.  Included should be other medications that are especially risky for the elderly.pill dispenser

Don’t panic if you discover that an older person is taking a medication on the Beers list.

Do plan on discussing with the doctor. You’ll want to understand why the benefits are likely to outweigh the burdens, and you can also ask if a lower dose is possible.  You can also review “Ten Medications Older Adults Should Avoid or Use with Caution,” authored by the American Geriatrics Society. This document highlights ten especially commonly used medications.  Theses can often be stopped or reduced.

If you need help spotting risky medications, consider asking a pharmacist for assistance.

Make a comprehensive list of all medications being taken. First include prescription drugs.  Second, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal supplements. Then, for every drug being taken, make sure you and your older relative understand.  The purpose of taking the drug. Ask yourselves if the drug seems to be serving its purpose. Similarly  plan to ask the doctor. If it’s a drug to manage a symptom such as pain.  Likewise consider how the symptom seems to be doing. See if the doctor has reassessed the symptom lately.   Even more if the symptom is still bothersome, you’ll want to discuss with the care provider.

 By way of contrast,  there alternatives to taking the drug.  For example can they be repeating symptoms.  As an illustration there are often non-drug alternatives.  These can and should be considered. For instance, certain types of counseling can be effective for depression and anxiety. In a like manner, physical therapy can help treat some forms of pain. Pelvic floor exercises and timed toileting can reduce incontinence.  If a lower dosage is possible.

In general, the risk of side-effects and problems goes up with higher doses of medication.

Consider asking if a lower dose is possible for any of the medications.  If you’re concerned about drug-drug interactions, have a medication list .  Furthermore check for possibly dangerous interactions.  Don’t forget to include any over-the-counter drugs or supplements.  Check for interactions with OTC's as well.

You can use an online drug interaction checker such as this one, or ask a pharmacist for help.

If you identify a potentially problematic interaction, let the doctor know as soon as possible. But don’t stop the medication on your own, as that can be dangerous too.  If cost is an issue, ask the doctor about options for reducing the medications, or at least switching to less expensive alternatives.

For instance, stopping a medication that is not working well for a symptom can help reduce drug costs.  If medication is required for a given problem, such as very high blood pressure, ask if there is a cheaper medication available.  Pharmacists may be able to offer suggestions regarding less costly alternatives, or other ways to modify the medication plan.  If taking medications on schedule is an issue, ask the doctor for help simplifying and streamlining the daily medication plan.

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For drugs taken several times a day, there may be a once-a-day option.

Or ask whether a drug can be stopped, and a non-drug treatment tried instead.  Pharmacists can often recommend ways to safely adjust when and how medications are taken.  Keep the doctors well-informed about your relative’s medications and medication use. auto pill dispenser with locks

In particular, help the doctors avoid these two common pitfalls:

Problem the confusion as to what has been prescribed by other doctors. Most seniors see multiple doctors.  Moreover,  hospital stays can create additional changes to the medication list. Don’t assume that doctors have an up-to-date list.   In fact,  they almost never do.  Bring an up-to-date list every time you see the doctor.  Subsequently bring the bottles along too.Be sure not to forget supplements and over-the-counter drugs.

Confusion as to what the older person is actually taking.

If your relative hasn’t filled a prescription due to cost, or isn’t taking a medication for any reason, be sure to let the doctor know this. This is especially important if the older person has had concerns about side-effects.  By implementing some — or ideally all — of the steps above, you can help make sure that an older person gets the most benefit from medications, while minimizing the risks and burdens.medicationdispenser testimonials

The Smart Pill Organizer was designed for the special needs of Early and Middle Stages of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that a Pill reminder should be the first decision for management of prescriptions.  Med-Q Smart Pill isn't the old auto pill dispenser with lock.

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Confusing Different kinds of Medications with One Another

The Big Problem: Prescription medications  have difficult names.  To illustrate, many names are  easily mied up. Examples of medications that are often confused include:

  • Zantac for heartburn and Zyrtec for allergies
  • Lamictal for epilepsy and Lamisil for fungal infection
  • Celebrex for arthritis and Celexa for depression

This problem is made worse for Dementia or Alzheimer's sufferers. 

They will often mix up pills when they look very similar.  The Top Solution: This is another case where a auto pill dispenser with locks or a smart pill dispenser with alarms  can be a big help. These modern pill boxes are way more than an old fashion pill organizer.  Sorting out the daily medication in advance will prevent the wrong medication from being taken.  This problem is made worse by senior's  in a moment of confusion. Prescription Medications that are taken as needed. This problem is big enough that the FDA carefully reviews drug names before they go to market.  The goal,  prevent medications with names that are too similar from the current names of pills on the market. This is aimed to prevent such mistakes by both patients as well as the pharmacists.pill dispenser for Alzheimer's;s

Negative  Medicines Interactions

Big Problem: Many prescription meds are not to be mixed. Fact, 45 Percent of the Elderly are taking over Six daily prescription. First of all,  many of them receiving these prescriptions from multiple specialists.  Often times,   patients are accidentally prescribed medications or take medications which are dangerous if they are taken at the same time. To illustrate,  a senior is  prescribed an opiate painkiller from a pain doctor.  Second of all, a sedating sleeping medicine from a sleep specialist has also been prescribed.  Both medications are  safe when taken individually at prescribed amount.  However, if taken together it may lead to a  dangerous over-sedation when combined.

The MEDQ Solution: It can be said,  doctors and pharmacists are supposed to beware of these issues.  However,   mistakes do happen.  Hence, caused by the patient’s different doctors are not letting each other know .  In fact , they are not  communicating with one another effectively. Speak to your pharmacist about all the medication you are taking. A great tool: Medscape’s Drug Interaction Checker to make sure the prescriptions, supplements and OTC (over the counter) medications you are taking do not cause negative side effects.

Negative  Food and Drug Interactions

Problem: A auto pill dispenser can not help you here.   Every one knows that it is common knowledge that certain pills should not be taken at the same time.  However, foodstuff interacting with medications and supplements  is not discussed. For example, many of the seniors who are on medications such as the anticoagulant Coumadin or blood thinning statins need to know this.

  • Statins are  drugs  help lower cholesterol levels in the blood stream. By lowering these cholesterol levels, they help lower the risk of a stroke as well as  heart attacks.  Modern research has shown that, in certain people,statins reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death from heart disease by about 25% to 35%.

Solution: Always read and follow the directions and warnings on the labels of your prescription.  In addition, the same apples to your pharmacist. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to bring them up with your pharmacist, whose job is to assure patients understand the medications they are taking and how to take them correctly. You can also read our recent article and food and drug interactions for more information.  Remebr, the pills will not work if not taken properly.  The Med-Q automatic pill dispenser with alarms is a great tool to keep doses proper.

Wrong Route of Administration

Problem: The FDA report showed that 15% of med errors are because of the incorrect  route of administration. To illustrate, swallowing a capsule that should have been  taken sub-lingually (slowly dissolving under the senior's  tongue).  Another example,  anal suppository (yes, this had been done). Swallowing a liquid intended for injection or use as a nasal spray is another example.

Solution: At risk of sounding redundant, be sure to follow all instructions on labels from doctors and from pharmacists carefully, and ask questions if you’re not sure. If you are care giving for a loved one who could be unsure about the proper way to take his or her medication, provide guidance and assistance if at all possible.

 Older adults may end up with the risks and burden of taking a drug 

In addition these including the cost of the drug.  Not to mention  they getting much benefit from the drug.  On the other hand geriatricians usually try to make sure that all drugs for symptoms are serving a useful purpose in improving well being or quality of life. Some drugs tend to interact with others. 

Alternatively a  frequent source of problems is warfarin.  This is  a commonly-used blood thinner.  By way of example it may interact with antibiotics as well as with other drugs. Despite its risks, it’s often  prescribe to an older adult..  Managing these pills need a MedQ upgrade your old Auto pill dispenser with Locks.

Warfarin is a common causes of medication-related hospitalizations.

To reduce the risk of serious problems, one may need to apply extra care in monitoring warfarin effect.  By the same token more care in checking for interactions when a new drug is prescribed.  Negative Side-effects because of  a strong effect on the elderly individual. 

Blood pressure medications have the goal  of lower blood pressure.

This can result in light headedness.  This in turn may even lead to falls.  This may happen if an older person stands. Blood sugar that is pushed quite low by diabetes drugs. Low blood sugar episodes can cause falls and have been linked to faster cognitive decline. Prescription Medication that actually lower blood sugar are part of many medication-related hospitalizations. The better technology makes it so auto pill dispenser with lock is no longer needed

Burden of scheduling and the properly  taking medications. Many older adults end up with several pills to take.  Taken at several different times per day. At a minimum, this is often a hassle; at worst it becomes a serious drain on quality of life.

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