by Larissa Feldman
A recent study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) has found that up to 25% of all hospital admissions and emergency department visits are drug-related.
Another study found that emergency visits and hospital admissions due to adverse drug reactions among seniors in Canada cost an estimated $35.7 million with more than 80% of those costs arising from hospitalization.
With the aging population and more new drugs on the market, these statistics are only going to increase. Knowing what’s in your medicine cabinet is critical in minimizing your risks of drug-related emergencies and hospitalization. Today, more than ever, it is vital that seniors know and understand the following about their medicine:
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· What’s the name of the medication?
· What’s it used for?
· How and when should it be taken?
· What are the possible side effects?
· Where should the medication be kept?
How pharmacists can help
Pharmacists are the most accessible professionals in the healthcare system. They are the medication experts. Talk to your pharmacist about all the medications you’re taking including over the counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal medicine.
Let them know if you have any medical conditions (i.e. kidney or liver problems, impaired vision or hearing), if you’re having trouble swallowing your medication, or trouble opening your pill containers.
In Quebec, seniors take on average at least eight different prescription medications. This doesn’t include other products such as over-the-counter drugs or other supplements such as multivitamins or natural products.
If you’re having trouble remembering or understanding how to take your medicine, consult your pharmacist. Always remember, your pharmacist’s top priority is to help you take your medication correctly so that you can benefit from the treatment and live a healthier, happier life.