Medication Safety Tips for Older Adults

As individuals age, they may encounter health issues that require the management of medications. With the uptick in prescription medications and supplements, the risk for harmful drug interactions also rises. As our bodies age, the way our bodies break down and absorb drugs may also change. All of these things can lead to harmful complications. Not to mention, it can be tricky to remember which medications to take and when.


Follow Doctors’ Orders

First and foremost, older individuals need to be sure they are taking their medication as prescribed by their doctor or other healthcare provider. Taking prescriptions not prescribed can result in harmful drug interactions with other prescribed medications. It’s crucial to understand how your medications could affect how another medication works, or how the medication will affect your body. For instance, taking one drug with another, eating certain foods, or consuming alcohol while taking certain medications could pose a major risk. Unprescribed meds can be detrimental to the body in other ways, too.


It’s important to refrain from skipping doses, doubling up on doses, or cutting pills in half. Individuals also shouldn’t just stop taking their medication entirely, as there could be negative consequences. Additionally, with certain medications that treat specific conditions like high blood pressure, stopping taking the medication suddenly means high blood pressure will no longer be controlled. It is a condition that requires continuous management through medication.


Keep a List of Medications

In order to keep track of medications, it is good to keep an up-to-date list with you. The list should include all the medications you’re taking and why, the dosage, and the time of day it needs to be taken. You may also want to give the list to a trusted love one who can help you keep track if needed.


Review your Medication List Regularly

Each time you visit your doctor, you should review your medication list. This will help you and your doctor determine which prescriptions are still working for you, which ones you may need to switch, and which ones you may be able to quit taking completely. Reviewing this at least annually is a good idea. This is also a time in which you can discuss options for a cheaper medication if the cost of certain prescriptions has risen significantly.



There are no stupid questions about medications. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the medications you’re taking, their side effects, and their possible drug interactions so that you may take them safely.


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