Drug-related problems are common in the elderly and include drug ineffectiveness, adverse drug effects, overdosage, underdosage, and drug interactions.
At any age, adverse drug reaction
(ADR) may occur when drugs are prescribed and taken appropriately; eg, new-onset allergic reactions are not predictable or preventable. However, adverse effects are thought to be preventable in almost 90% of cases in the elderly (compared with only 24% in younger patients). Certain drug classes are commonly involved: antipsychotics, warfarin.
problems in elderly people is difficult. Many patients take a large number of drugs over many years. Many physicians are reluctant to stop medications started by a different physician, so the drugs are continued and the list increases. The most important concept for all healthcare professionals to remember is that ADRs in elderly adults are extremely common and the only way to prevent them is to look for them and learn how to properly monitor their occurrence.
may be defined as the number of medications (eg, using a large number of different medications prescribed by different providers), the necessity of the medications that are prescribed, or the complexity of a patient's problems.
As a pharmacist
, you can counsel and educate your patients on ADRs. Education is the key to medication management. Effective communication between all of a patient's healthcare providers .
For more information on managing your medications, ask your local pharmacist.
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