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New Year: Time to Review Your Meds

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Folks can ask their local pharmacist to go through their medications with them. (Jacob Lund/Adobe Stock)
Folks can ask their local pharmacist to go through their medications with them. (Jacob Lund/Adobe Stock)
 By Eric Tegethoff - Producer, Contact
January 20, 2020

MEDFORD, Ore. -- It's a new year and pharmacists say people should take time to reflect on the medications they're using.

An annual evaluation is especially important for older adults. One in four people age 65 and older takes five or more medications for chronic disease management.

Rob Reinhardt, a pharmacist with Jackson Care Connect in Medford, says to complicate things more, folks often have multiple providers prescribing them medications. He says a specialist might prescribe you something that interacts badly with medication from your primary care physician.

"And throw on top of that if you add in supplements or herbals or things like that that no one knows you're taking other than you, you can really set yourself up for some serious interactions that can cause hospitalizations or worse," Reinhardt states.

Reinhardt says people can ask their local pharmacist to review their medications for free with them, and that pharmacists can identify which medications might interfere with each other or which they recommend discontinuing.

Jason Mallari, a pharmacist with CareOregon, says it's important to ask questions, including what the medication plan is going forward. Will it be for a short time while a person changes his or her lifestyle or much longer?

Mallari often sees someone who's put on medication and stays on it without considering why.

"What people forget is people change over time," he points out. "People change not only because of time but also because of what you're taking, what you're eating, and so you may have to evaluate those medications that you're taking more often than you probably would think."

Reinhardt says patients can help pharmacists by telling them how they are feeling on certain medications, especially if they notice something after taking a new prescription.

"That might help them give you some clues that, 'Oh, this particular drug might not be tolerated well for you,'" he states. "'Maybe there's a better alternative I can talk to the physician about getting for you that does the same thing but doesn't cause this particular side effect for you.'"

Disclosure: CareOregon contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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