AARP holds lecture on ‘Your Medicine and You’
Silver and Sage coordinator
Do you take six or more medications daily? Do you know what they are for? Have you discussed them in depth with your doctor? Do you know the side effects?
Recently, AARP and the Stanford Center for Aging held a seminar at the University of Nevada, Reno featuring Dr. Bill Thomas, an expert in geriatric medicine.
A dynamic speaker, Thomas presented some invaluable suggestions the layman may not think of or know.
“When you start a medication take the lowest possible dose at first,” Thomas said. “Newer is not always better. Take a drug that has been used successfully for seven years.
“For instance, Vioxx, a dangerous new drug, has been withdrawn. Generic and brand name drugs start on the same assembly line, then divide into two paths, one for generic and one for name brand. The color or shape may differ, but they contain the same basic ingredients.”
Other suggestions included:
• Take outdated medications to your pharmacy to be destroyed.
• Store medications in a dry, cool, dark place.
• Look up the medications you use on http://www.FDA.gov
• Keep your own medical record in detail. Keep one with you and one at home and make sure it is updated.
Perhaps the most important suggestion is to schedule an elective visit with your doctor to discuss the medications you take. For the visit put every pill bottle you have, creams, lotions, vitamins, soaps, over-the-counter medications and supplements in a bag and take them with you.
There is a 60 percent chance of interaction if you are taking six or more medications daily. Discuss what the drugs contain and why you are taking them – the name, what is it for and how does it work. Become an expert. Perhaps some of the medications can be discontinued.
To order copies of Medicines Made Easy D18366; Personal Medication Record, D18358; Prescription Drug Label Made Easy, D18547 from AARP, visit the Web site at http://www.aarp.org/usingmeds or call 1-888-OUR-AARP.