Teaching Now Living-Part 23-Over Medication in the Elderly


Ellie recently had a bad fall luckily without a serious injury. She spent the evening on the floor after a fall in her bathroom, she was not wearing her medical alert and had left her cell phone in another room.

After a thorough investigation by a geriatrician at the hospital, it was discovered Ellie's kidneys were not functioning properly due to over medication. She was on a dose of Blood pressure medication that was too high and a medication for diabetes that wasn't necessary. As individuals age their ability to metabolize and absorb medication changes. Ellie was immediately hydrated via IV and after 3 days her kidney function improved. The excess medication caused lightheadedness, dizziness and muscle weakness.

Tip: Geriatricians are trained to deprescribe, are familiar with the correct dosages and parameters for the elderly.

There is a great website that is advancing a national dialogue around avoiding unnecessary medical tests and treatment called www.choosingwisely.org/

Before a doctors visit , consider the following;

1. Make a list of all current medications

2. Reason for each medication prescription

3. Are the medications on Beer's List

4. Prepare a list of questions for the physician:

1). Why are they taking this medication?

2). Benefits and side effects of medication?

3). Does this medication affect memory?

4). Will this medication increase chances of falling?

5). Are there any medications that are no longer necessary?


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