“Be sure to take your vitamins!” How often are we made aware of the need to make sure we meet the daily recommended requirement for the wide range of vitamin and mineral supplements that are intended to keep us healthy? What we hear less often, however, is the threat in mixing specific drugs with OTC supplements – particularly for older adults.
With the substantial majority of older adults – 87% – taking at least one prescription drug, and many taking over five of them, it’s important to become educated on the potential risks involved in how they interrelate with vitamins and minerals, and even with certain types of foods. In some instances, mixing medications can lead to a diminished effectiveness of the medications, in addition to a myriad of more serious health concerns.
Since our goal is to keep older individuals safe and well, Hearts at Home shares the following helpful suggestions related to medication and supplement interactions:
- Maintain a list – and share it. Create a listing of all the medicines your older loved one is taking, and include over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or allergy relief products, as well as vitamin/mineral supplements. Incorporate dosage amounts, how often each medicine is taken, and at what time of day. Then provide a copy of the list to your senior loved one’s physician and pharmacist to verify the medication plan is both safe and effective.
- Do your homework. A really good online resource is available, the Drug Interactions Checker, that enables you to enter a list of medications into the program and run a report automatically to discover if there are any contraindications. It even lists possible food interaction alerts, such as any concerns with consuming alcoholic drinks with a given medication.
- Be extremely vigilant during hospitalizations. Frequently, when an older adult is hospitalized, medical personnel at the hospital will order new medicines on top of those already prescribed. Add these new medications to the older adult’s list, run through the Drug Interactions Checker, and share with his or her primary care physician to reduce the possibility of problems.
In addition, Hearts at Home’s Overland Park home care professionals can help in keeping seniors safe and healthy in a variety of ways. We can provide transportation and accompaniment for seniors to medical appointments and procedures, keep a current record of medications being taken, pick up prescriptions, provide medication reminders, prepare healthy meals, and so much more. Contact us at 913-440-4209 to begin improving wellbeing for your senior loved one.