People age 65 and older take more prescription and over-the-counter medicines than any other age group. Older people as a group tend to have more long-term, chronic illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Because older people may have a number of health problems or issues at the same time, it is common for older people to take many different drugs. To avoid risk and get the best results from your medicines, here are some tips on how to take medicines safely and manage them wisely.
Types of Medicine
There are two types of medications: prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs. Prescription drugs are prescribed by a doctor. Over-the-counter drugs can be purchased without a doctor's prescription.
It is important to realize that over-the-counter products include many different substances such as vitamins and minerals, herbal and dietary supplements, laxatives, cold medicines, and antacids.
If your doctor prescribes a medication for your condition, make sure that you find out as much about it as you can and that you learn to take it properly.
Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse about the right way to take any medicine before you start to use it. Ask questions when you don't know the meaning of a word, or when instructions aren't clear.
Here are some specific questions to ask:
Absorption of Medicine
As the body ages, its ability to absorb and process foods and drugs changes. Older people often need smaller doses of medicine per pound of body weight than they did when they were younger.
Be aware of the grapefruit effect. Taking certain medications with a glass of grapefruit juice can lead to higher levels of medicine in the blood, which can cause health problems.
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