If you’re a senior you know the drill.
Pills are practically the first order of business when you wake up in the morning. Then there are more drugs at high noon. You pop a few more pills for dessert after dinner. And then the last few meds go down the hatch as a midnight snack before hitting the hay.
And each time you pop one in and take another sip of water you wonder, yet again, “All these drugs really CAN’T be necessary, can they?”
Well, I’ve got good news and bad news.
Yes, you ARE taking too many drugs
The good news is you’re absolutely right, chances are you really don’t need all those drugs your taking. And who doesn’t like to be right?
But the bad news is also that you’re absolutely right. Which means, of course, that chances are you’ve been choking down fists full of pills you don’t even need, according to a study out of Canada.
Seniors are being snowed with unnecessary meds.
And while that’s bad news for anyone, according to researchers senior women in particular are getting slammed. You see women’s bodies metabolize meds at a slower pace so if you’re a women you’re at an even higher risk for nasty drug side effects.
More than 1 in 4 seniors overmedicated
But if you’re a guy don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet.
Both men and women are being overmedicated—or wrongly medicated—at an alarming rate. Twenty six percent of men are on what researchers termed “potentially inappropriate” drugs and almost a third of women, according to the study published in the journal Age and Ageing.
In fact, more than one out of four seniors are taking drugs they don’t need. (With over 44 million seniors in the U.S. alone, that means were talking about a LOT of folks.)
And it’s not just too many drugs that are the problem. Another study, this one published in 2015, revealed that 10 percent of drug mistakes are caused by medical professionals simply (and frighteningly) mixing up drug names.
That’s how someone with allergies who gets prescribed Allegra can end up walking out of the pharmacy with a pill bottle stuffed full of Viagra.
The solution? Once again you’re going to need to look out for yourself here.
Keep an updated list of all the meds you’re taking with a note about what they’re for. Take this list with you whenever you visit a doctor and when you pick up your meds at the pharmacy. And take the time to chat with the pharmacist about your new med and any potential interactions with other drugs you’re taking.
But don’t stop there…
The Brown Bag Checkup
Ever heard of a Brown Bag Checkup? If not and you’re a senior it’s time to become familiar with them.
Twice a year you should be scheduling a Brown Bag Checkup with a pharmacist who specializes in working with older folks. They get their name from the fact that you prepare for them by dumping every single medication you take into a brown bag to take with you to the appointment.
During this appointment the pharmacist will go over every med you’re on looking for medication mistakes, over medication errors, unnecessary drugs and any other potential issues. You’ll be floored by what they find.
Some insurances even cover Brown Bag Checkups, but if yours doesn’t they will typically run you no more than $30 bucks.
Written in memory of medicine's most popular myth-buster, Dr. William Campbell Douglass II the "Daily Dose" is a FREE daily e-mail service designed to deliver health news and insights directly to your inbox.
In the "Daily Dose" you get Harrison’s no holds barred straight scoop about health, medicine and politics. In it he exposes junk medicine, flawed science, big-government waste and fraud — providing a continuous supply of urgent and timely health information.
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