The risk of deadly drug interactions is higher among seniors as they are often prescribed different medications and supplements for a variety of conditions. One drug can drastically impact the effectiveness of other drugs and how your body uses them.
Dr. Sandra Kweder, the FDA medical officer, said, “There is no question that physiology changes as we age. Many chronic medical conditions don’t even appear until our later years. It’s not that people are falling to pieces. Some changes are just part of the normal aging process.”
The FDA has offered some helpful tips for reducing the risk of drug interactions in order to minimize the possibility of any ensuing complications.
Always follow your doctor’s directions: Don’t take drugs or supplements your doctor does not know about. Do not skip or change the dosage. Let your doctor know if you experience any symptoms or side effects as a result of the medications.
Keep a medication list: Carry around a list of the brand and generic names of the medications you take, along with the dosages. If any of this changes, be sure to update your list.
Learn about possible drug interactions and side effects: Always read the labels on prescription drug and supplement packages. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about the drugs you are taking and ask them about any possible interactions.
Routinely go over your medications with your doctor: This will ensure that what you’re taking is still relevant. If you can’t afford a certain drug or if you think a medication you’re taking isn’t working, address these concerns with your doctor as well.
Dr. Kweder concluded, “As a society, we have become reliant on pharmaceuticals to help us attain a longer and higher-quality life. It’s a wonderful success of Western medicine. The goal should be for each of us to access that benefit but respect that medicines are serious business. To get the most out of them, you should take them with great care and according to directions.”