When was the last time you went rummaging through your parents medicine cabinet? I know, they like their privacy. Fair enough…until you accidentally get a glimpse of the pharmacy they keep in there. Now the fact that they’re engaged with their own health is a good thing as long as everyone is on the same page. Here’s why?
Medications have side effects. How many times have you watched a drug commercial and thought, “My God, the side effects are worse than the ailment.” Prescription medications are so powerful that they can damage organs, which were otherwise healthy.
Another problem can arise when your parents are seeing multiple doctors. What if the doctors are not communicating with or even aware of each other? They may be prescribing medications that don’t react well together. This can be life threatening and is surprisingly common in today’s eldercare.
The fact is, that the average aging adult is taking five or more prescriptions per day. This doesn’t even include over the counter drugs such as painkillers or antacids. These can interact negatively with or disrupt the efficacy of the doctor prescribed medications. Alcohol and caffeine can have similar effects.
Here are some symptoms that there might be a problem with your parent’s medication:
- Constipation, diarrhea
- Tiredness, sleepiness or decreased alertness
- Depression or general lack of interest
- Anxiety or excitability
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased sexual behavior
- Skin rashes
Reducing The Danger
Here are a few steps you can take to reduce the risk to your parents from an improper balance of medications.
- Make every physician aware of every drug, including vitamins that your parents are taking.
- Collect every bottle and make a detailed list including the drug name, size of dosage and recommended dosage.
- Read every warning on the box and create a list of all possible side effects.
- Provide these lists to your parent’s doctors.
- Have all prescriptions re-written and filled at the same pharmacy.
- Get to know their pharmacist.
As you can see, drug prescriptions are a complicated business. When handled properly you can mitigate most of the internal damage they might possibly do.
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