Medication: How Much Do You Take On A Daily Basis?
Today is national check your medications day. According to the March 2019 Health Tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 25% of Americans, regardless of age, have been noted to take four or more medications. For our older adults, this percentage rises to 54%.
This can be difficult for many people due to cost and even just the daily management of taking more than 4 medications each day. It also brings up concerns of safety with medications. You can look at this report by going to kff.org/health-costs/poll-finding/kff-health-tracking-poll-february-2019-prescription-drugs/ NY connects can help provide you with information regarding your medication needs. It is great idea to have an up to date list of all your medications that you take, including ones you take as you need them, over the counter meds, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. Keep this list on you or on your phone. It can be useful when you are trying to remember all the medications you may take.
If cost is an issue, there are programs that can assist with paying for medications. Special coupons and discount cards may offer additional savings on prescription medications. There are commercials on TV for GoodRX savings cards that can help. It may be that you need to have more information on insurance coverage for medications or possible savings programs you may be eligible for that add monies back into your pocket so you can help pay for your prescription drug costs.
There are even phone apps that can help you locate the best pharmacy price for the medications you are looking for.
Medication safety: It is always a good practice to have a relationship with your local pharmacists! This medical professional is our local and accessible expert on all things medication.
All pharmacists can do a medication review with you along with your doctor. It is really important to take all medications, supplements, even herbs or vitamins that are purchased without prescription from your doctor to your pharmacist for review.
Taking all medications you take, or may take when you feel you need it, in to the pharmacy and your doctor, allows these professionals to evaluate all medications and make sure there are no interactions or duplicates. Many people have a doctor, dentist or other specialist that may prescribe prescription medication OR over the counter (OTC) supplements or vitamins and herbs to assist you in your care. You may even have many pharmacies that help- a local one or a mail order pharmacy. What does this mean and why is it important?
If you don’t discuss your medications with your doctor and/or pharmacist, no one but you may know exactly what you take and there is no double check on the medications you are taking regularly. You need someone on your health team that can look at everything and look for potential problems and interactions.
How do you manage all the medications you take? Do you have a method to keep on track taking your medications? It is so easy to forget if you took them from the bottle! Do you forget to take evening doses? It is a challenge with our busy lives. There are simple solutions, like using a pill box. There are more pointed solutions like using a phone app or alarm to remind you to take your medication at the right time. There are complex solutions like pharmacy packaging and even medication administering machines that can help with managing medications.
Where do you get rid of old medications that should not be sitting around the house or available for people to take and potentially abuse? We have a program in the county called “Take it to the Box” where Chautauqua County residents can take old or unused meds to be disposed of properly. Follow these simple rules when preparing your medication: Keep medication in its original container to avoid taking the wrong thing. Follow the directions: take the correct dose that your doctor has ordered, at the correct time, and in the correct way. Don’t take other people’s medications and always contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives us this advice: To make medicine use SAFER: Speak up Ask questions Find the facts Evaluate your choices Read the label and follow directions. (FDA, 2014). Keep medications out of the hands of people that may misuse it, abuse it and be harmed by it. Call NY Connects for questions and solutions for your medication safety and management.
The NY Connects Helpline is available to you. Call 753-4582, 363-4582 or 661-7582 or e-mail us at CCNYC@co.chautauqua.ny.us. If you are in Mayville please stop and talk with one of our operators. We are located in the HRC Building at the county government offices in Mayville New York. NY Connects is brought to you by the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging and the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.