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Dec

05

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Taking Multiple Medications Poses Risks

Posted by on December 5th, 2017 Posted in: Aging, Blog, Consumer Health, Electronic Resources



“Photo” via medlinegov, November 29, 2017, Public Domain.

Many older Americans take multiple medications — but only about one-third ever discuss possible interactions between drugs, a new poll finds. The poll was conducted by the university’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. It was sponsored by AARP and Michigan Medicine, the university’s academic medical center.

“Interactions between drugs, and other substances, can put older people at a real risk of everything from low blood sugar to kidney damage and accidents caused by sleepiness,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, who directed the nationwide poll.

FDA.gov recommends before taking a drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist the following questions:

  • Can I take it with other drugs?
  • Should I avoid certain foods, beverages or other products?
  • What are possible drug interaction signs I should know about?
  • How will the drug work in my body?
  • Is there more information available about the drug or my condition (on the Internet or in health and medical literature)?

There are also online tools available that can help inform about possible interactions.  AARP and WebMD both have drug interaction checkers which allow users to enter their medications to screen for possible interactions.

Alison Bryant is senior vice president of research for AARP. “Even with trackers and systems in place, patients need to be open with their providers and tell them all the medications and supplements they’re taking, including herbal remedies,” she said.

 

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