It seems as the years roll by the number of prescriptions one might take equally increases. This can be a dangerous phenomena in the older adult. As we age our bodies metabolize medications less efficiently. Multiple medications compete for fewer processing sites in our liver and kidneys. As you can image this can lead to dangerous consequences. Today’s health letter I like to title medical mayhem.
It is always a good idea to have your medication listed with your primary doctor’s office. Older adults many times see multiple doctors. This can lead to multiple medications. I am frequently surprised by what is taken and not taken upon review of the medication list. Your primary care doctor is most equipped to look at the big picture and make sure your treatment is safe and manageable.
When you come to see you primary care doctor bring your medications in a bag. This helps insure that your doctor has an accurate list. This also provides a strong visual on the number of medications taken. It has been well documented that if more than six medications are taken, there can almost always be found a detrimental interaction. Nothing makes me happier then to stop a medication.
I recommend building a relationship with a local pharmacist. I understand insurance companies sometimes offer savings by using a mail order service, but if your insurance offers an option I recommend the local pharmacist. It is well worth the time and perhaps cost. The local pharmacist adds another layer of accuracy and screening for interactions and side effects.
Times have changed when it comes to hospital care. Patients are many times cared for by hospital specialists now. Make sure you make a visit with your primary care doctor after your discharge. At the post-hospital visit, bring your medications in a bag along with any discharge paper work.
Cheers to your health,
Paul Koberna, MD