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APhA to seniors: 'Connect' with your pharmacist
May 16th, 2011
WASHINGTON – The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is encouraging senior citizens nationwide to make a connection with their pharmacist to get a better handle on the prescription medications they're taking and learn about wellness opportunities.
APhA said Monday that the initiative, launched in recognition of Older Americans Month, highlights pharmacists as the most accessible health care providers and medication experts as well as their ability to discuss many of the issues that arise from age and taking medications.
"Thanks in part to advances in health care, education, technology and financial stability over the last several decades, seniors are living longer and are more committed to better standards of living, increased lifestyle choices and more involvement in decision making — from the community level to their personal health care," APhA stated. "Your pharmacist can help sort out any confusion you may have about the medications you are taking, answer questions and assist in better decision making."
A closer relationship with pharmacists, APhA explained, can give seniors better control over their medications and lessen side effects and the chance of adverse interactions. Caregivers and family members taking care of senior also can go to pharmacists with questions about the medications that a relative or person in their care may be taking, the association noted.
Some topics for discussion between seniors and pharmacists, APhA said, may include understanding medications and how to take them properly; branded versus generic prescription drugs; reading a label correctly, including warnings and dosing information; determining whether an over-the-counter medication or herbal supplement is the right choice, since side effects and interactions may increase with age; overcoming loss of appetite, dry-mouth, sleeplessness or other age-related medication side effects; taking medication at the appropriate time throughout the day for your schedule; problems with swallowing and pill size; and a review of total medication history, or a "medication checkup."
"Pharmacists work as a team with doctors and other health care providers to optimize care, improve medication use and to prevent disease," according to APhA. "To achieve the best outcomes for their condition, patients should maintain regular visits with all of their health care providers. APhA encourages consumers to fill all their prescriptions with one pharmacy, get to know their pharmacist on a first-name basis, carry an up-to-date medication and vaccination list, and share all medical information with each of their health care providers."