Medications 101: How much do you know?

Medications 101: How much do you know?

(NAPS)-While everyone needs to be careful when taking medication, older adults face particular challenges. Often, they take more than one medicine at a time and they may not metabolize drugs as well as they once did, raising the risk of complications.
Answering these true or false questions from leading home care company Interim HealthCare may help reduce side effects and improve the efficacy of any medications being taken:
True or False:
1. Filling your prescriptions at the same pharmacy is a good idea.
2. All drugs need to be refrigerated.
3. If you miss a dose, the best thing to do is wait for the next time you need to take one.
4. Stop taking the drug once you feel better.
5. If you can't remember to take your medicine at the right time of day and in the right amount, use charts, calendars and weekly pillboxes.
6. Certain foods can interact with medications.
Answers
1. True. That way, your records are in one place. This allows the pharmacist to know what you are taking and tell you if a new drug may cause interactions if taken with another drug at the same time.
2. False. However, all drugs should be stored away from children and animals. Many must be stored away from heat and direct light and not in the bathroom or other damp place. If a drug is not stored correctly, it can reduce its effectiveness.
3. False. Some drugs should be taken as soon as you realize you missed a dose; with others, you should wait until the next dose. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist how to proceed with the drug you are taking.
4. False. Take the medicine until you are finished or until the doctor tells you to stop.
5. True. All these reminder systems can work, but if you become more forgetful, supervision may be required.
6. True. Grapefruit juice can increase the levels of some medicines in your blood. Eating a calcium-rich dairy product can stop antibiotics from working. These are just two examples. Check with your physician or pharmacist for more insight.
Always ask your doctor what each prescribed drug is, why you are taking it, when you should take it and what side effects to watch for. Supervising medication is one of the many jobs a home health care aide can perform. For more information, visit www.interimhealthcare.com.