Persons over the age of 65 make up over 13 percent of the population of the United States, but they receive more than 30 percent of prescriptions filled.
The elderly generally have more medical problems, and many of them are taking medications for more than one of these conditions. In addition, they tend to be more sensitive to medications. Even healthy older people eliminate some medications from the body more slowly than younger persons. Therefore older adults may require a lower or less frequent dosage to maintain an effective level of medication.
The elderly and those close to them — friends, relatives, caretakers — need to pay special attention and watch for adverse (negative) physical and psychological responses to medication. Because they often take more medications — not only those prescribed but also over-the-counter preparations and home, folk, or herbal remedies — the possibility of adverse drug interactions is high.
Sometimes memory problems affect older people who take medications for mental disorders. An older adult may forget his or her regular dose and take too much or not enough. A good way to keep track of medicine is to use a seven-day pill box, which can be bought at any pharmacy. At the beginning of each week, older adults and their caregivers fill the box so that it is easy to remember what medicine to take. Many pharmacies also have pillboxes with sections for medications that must be taken more than once a day.
Psych Central. (2006). Medications for Seniors. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 28, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/medications-for-senior-citizens-and-the-elderly/000454
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.