FOUR WAYS TO AVOID MEDICATION ERRORS

The amount of drugs being prescribed in the South Africa is rapidly rising. With this rise comes an increase in the frequency of prescription drug misuse and abuse, especially among the elderly. We might not typically associate substance abuse with the aging population, yet by some estimates, ageing individuals also abuse medication

Aging adults are at a high risk for prescription drug abuse for a number of reasons. South African aged 55 or older make up only 13 percent of the S.A. population, but they account for about 33 percent of all prescribed medications, more than any other age group. They often take more than one medication simultaneously for a prolonged duration, making it easy to falter in proper usage. Interactions between drugs may lead to unintended side effects, including dependence on either or both of the drugs.

Changes in hormone levels and decline in physical ability during old age can motivate many to seek refuge in prescription drugs, most commonly opioids (used to control pain) or benzodiazepines (used for anxiety, panic attacks, or insomnia), both of which have a high potential for addiction. As patients build a tolerance for a certain drug over time, they will tend to ask for a stronger dosage. Meanwhile, dosage appropriate for a younger person may prove to be difficult to handle for someone who is older. As the body’s metabolism slows down with age, accumulation of medicines in the body can result in addiction.

The consequences of drug abuse in seniors are profound. They include and are not limited to: falls, cognitive problems and dementia, respiratory failure, overdose deaths, depression, low attention span and loss of motivation and interest. In order to avoid these outcomes, seniors should take certain precautions when starting a new prescription. Some of the ways to do this are:

· Use a pill organizer to help you keep track of dosage and pill scheduling.
· Ensure that each of your healthcare providers is aware of all your current medication before he or she prescribes a new drug.
· Monitor and log your body’s reactions to any new drug, and schedule follow-up appointments after starting a new medication to discuss these reactions.
· Most importantly, always adhere to the instructions of use and correct dosage included with each of your medications.

EndlessLife staff will gladly review your current prescriptions with you to ensure they are all necessary and not harmful. To speak to a Registered Nurse who can help you find the best care option for you or your loved one.
Call Endlesslife on 011 454 1393

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