Drug use in the elderly

Drug use in the elderly

Older people often have many health problems. Causing multiple medications to be obtained, Therefore, there may be a risk of overdose. Side effects or dangers from drugs Including interactions between drugs.

The causes of problems in the use of drugs in the elderly are as follows.
The elderly have many diseases and are on different medications. Causing drugs to affect each other. The elderly have physical changes that affect how the medication works. Problems in the drug use behavior of the elderly, such as the elderly do not see a doctor. It could be due to physical and psychological problems.

That makes the elderly unable to see a doctor. Or travel problems, finance, etc., or may arise from the belief that they like to buy their own drugs or take old drugs That had been eaten by themselves, etc. Prescribing the drug that is inappropriate for the elderly, such as the use of drugs in which the elderly have a higher chance of drug side effects.

Body changes that affect drug use in the elderly

  • Reduced drug absorption, But often rarely causes problems in the elderly
  • Drug distribution, Older people have an increased proportion of fat and less water in the body. Make many kinds of drugs have higher drug levels in the body toxic easily and drugs act longer than usual.
  • Drug metabolism or drug changes in the body, especially when the liver changes from the size of the liver. The blood supply decreased. Making it likely to have a high residue.
  • Elimination of medication by the kidneys Can be reduced because the kidney function decreases with age. Therefore may not be able to expel the drug from the body.

In addition, the elderly have a number of physical changes that can affect drug use, such as increased sensitivity to certain drugs. While some drugs, the elderly have lower sensitivity to the drug, for example, these can cause problems with prescribing drugs in the elderly.

The reasons for the increased incidence of drug-related side effects in the elderly can be several factors.

  • Getting multiple drugs at the same time.
  • Physiological changes from aging to the removal of drugs from the body.
  • Physiological changes from aging to drug action.
  • The behavior of elderly patients.

What if the elderly forget to take medication?
In general, if you forget to take your medication, you must first consult your doctor or pharmacist about how you should behave. Because some drugs are taken as soon as you can think of Some medications that may have to wait for the next meal.

Medicines before meals, after meals, how are they eaten?
Pre-meal tablets should be taken at least 30 minutes before meals, while post-meal pills can be taken immediately after meals, no different from 15 minutes after meals.

How should the elderly use drugs to be safe?
The elderly have a physical condition that deteriorates with age. Both eye movement and memory, therefore, caregivers should be administered to ensure that the elderly can use the medication correctly. The important things to start using the drug are carefully reading drug labels, In order to be able to use drugs correctly, right people, at the right size, and at the right time.

Elderly people using various drugs are at risk of drug interaction problems. How to avoid this problem?
Certain medications, when used together, can cause serious drug side effects, for example, drowsiness-inducing pain relievers. When taken with sleeping pills It can have a dangerous effect on the brain. Certain drugs, when used together, can decrease their effectiveness, such as certain antibiotics. When taken with milk, calcium, or antacids, the drug binds to minerals to form non-absorbable complexes. Therefore have to eat at least 2 hours apart.

Forgetting to take the medicine affects the treatment of the disease. How to make sure the elderly don’t forget to take their medication?
In addition to having a caregiver to arrange medication, There are also other tools. That can be used as an aid in taking the medicine more accurately, for example:

  • A pillbox, such as a pillbox that indicates the day of the week Older adults with a complex, multi-drug intake may choose a more detailed, separate dose box.
  • The alarm clock can choose to use a wristwatch or mobile phone to set the alarm time to remind you when it’s time to take medicine.
  • Application for reminders to take medicine on a smartphone. Can be downloaded for free.

However, it is not recommended to prepare a large amount in advance. If the drug is packaged It is recommended that the tablets be removed from the package only when taking them. As some drugs may be sensitive to light or moisture, they wear out easily.

Which drug group does the elderly be careful when using it.
Medicines that the elderly should be especially careful with include sleeping pills, stress reliever drugs, antihistamines, and pain relievers, which can cause side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and an increased risk of falls. Additionally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase the risk of developing high blood pressure or kidney failure in older adults. Therefore, caution should be exercised in the elderly with a history of hypertension, heart disease, or kidney disease. However, older adults should not purchase the medication themselves and should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.

If the treatment results are satisfactory, Can elderly people adjust the dosage by themselves?
Increasing the dosage by yourself May increase the risk of side effects from the drug, The reduction in the dosage of the drug by yourself may reduce the effectiveness of the drug until it is ineffective. Such as antihypertensive drugs that are taken continuously until the blood pressure level can be controlled. Stopping the medication suddenly can cause a very dangerous increase in blood pressure. Therefore, you should not adjust the dose or stop the medication without consulting a doctor.

The elderly have to take medicine for a long time. Can it affect the function of the liver and kidneys?
The liver and kidneys are important organs for removing the medication from the body. In the elderly, the efficacy of elimination of the drug is significantly reduced compared to young age. The same dose may have a residual effect on the elderly body. Especially if the drug is toxic to the liver or kidneys, this can lead to deterioration of liver or kidney function. The use of drugs in the elderly must be under the supervision of a doctor. In which the doctor will assess and monitor the function of the liver and kidneys and keep adjusting the appropriate dose.

Are older adults more likely to have side effects from drug use than others?
Because the elderly have a deteriorating physical condition in all systems. Therefore drug use is riskier than other ages. For example, Older people often experience fainting when standing up due to insufficient blood supply to the brain. When taking antihypertensive drugs, it can increase your risk of fainting or an accident.

Elderly people with knee pain or joint pain who need nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can irritate the digestive tract. Decreased physical awareness can lead to insensitivity to pain. Before the cause is detected, it can become a big problem. Caregivers and elderly people should be aware of abnormal symptoms, such as dark-colored urine or stools, which are signs of gastrointestinal bleeding. Should seek immediate medical attention.

Taking vitamins, herbs, or supplements in the elderly What precautions should be taken?
The intake of vitamins, herbs, or supplements should be considered as appropriate for the underlying disease or condition. Certain herbs or supplements should not be used in people with kidney disease, as they can cause abnormal minerals in the body or worsen kidney function. Choosing to use should have academic information that confirms efficacy and safety. Including informing your doctor or pharmacist before starting to use any herbs or supplements To avoid the danger that will occur, especially the drug problem has side effects on each other.

Important guidelines regarding drug use in the elderly.

  • Bring a list of all types of medications or oral medications every time you see a doctor. For the doctor to review the suitability of the drug.
  • Should ask for side effects and precautions when starting a new drug.

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