Taking multiple medicines can be dangerous because there may be conflicts with one another. Adding a new medicine brings great risk and should be carefully done. You need to be sure new meds won’t cause any negative effects and prepare the list of questions to ask a doctor. Also, don’t forget to tell the doctor about all medicines your senior currently uses. You can even ask a pharmacist for additional information. Preventing negative side effects should be taken seriously so both you and your elderly loved one can have peace of mind.
Safe Medication Use for Older Adults: What Questions to Ask a Doctor
Before you begin taking a new medicine, talking to your doctor is highly recommended. Tell them about all your previous experiences with different medications, especially if you had certain side effects or are allergic to anything. To be sure you don’t miss anything, check out this extensive list of questions to ask a doctor, created by the NIA.
1. Learn the name of the medicine and the reasons why your older adult should take it.
2. How does this medicine improve their condition? What conditions does it treat?
3. How often should it be taken? Do they take it regularly? (For example, every 8 hours, before every meal, only when they don’t feel well, etc.)
4. What is the recommended dose and what do they do in case they took too much or forgot to take it? If they forgot to take it, is it safe to take it afterwards?
5. Some medications are taken on an empty stomach. Before taking others, you need to eat well. Make sure you know which type of medicine they have.
6. Does it work immediately or do you need to wait a couple of hours before noticing the effect?
7. One of the most important things is to tell a doctor the other medicines currently being used. Certain medicines can be in conflict with others, thus don’t forget to mention them.
8. Learn on what occasions taking this medicine should be immediately stopped.
9. What are the side effects of the medicine and what should be done in case they happen?
10. Can seniors drive a car while using this medicine?
11. Every time you visit a doctor ask whether this medicine should be discontinued or if it still needs to be used.
Safe Medication Use for Older Adults: What Else You Need to Know
If you have urgent questions but cannot get in touch with the doctor, ask a pharmacist everything you need to know. They are qualified and usually have all the answers you want.
Never crush a pill and put in a glass of water or any other drink before consulting a pharmacist. A crushed tablet can have a completely different effect than when taken regularly and, in certain cases, no effect at all.
Make sure your elderly adult can read the label. If the letters are too small, write the name by yourself on a piece of paper and stick it to the bottle. It is even better if you have a medication reminder, so you can prepare them their doses for the whole week in advance.
See if there are any special conditions for storing the medicine. Many of them should be kept in a cool and dry place, far away from the sunlight. Check the instructions and find out if the medicine has these or any other special requirements.
Once you are prescribed a new medication, you must be aware it is not a joke, and you should take it seriously. Prepare the list of questions to ask a doctor and clarify all unknown things. This way you will avoid side effects and have the treatment you need.
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