MOM TAKES 28 DIFFERENT PILLS

· stress
Authors

Q: I need to get a handle on all a these medications.

A:
Americans over the age of 65 take lots of medications: the average “healthy” adult takes 9 different drugs. If you are taking care of sick parent or spouse (or sibling), the average can be substantially higher. Do you ever wonder if the side effects of one drug have caused the need for one of the other drugs? What about side-effects? Drug interactions? How about this: Do you ever think that your loved one is unnecessarily taking multiple medications for the same condition? At the end of this article I am going to show you a free website that you can use to compare any two medications! My favorite part about this tool is that you don’t even have to know how to spell them…it’s like Google – when you start typing the name it will try to guess what you are attempting to spell (that saves me everytime).

But first allow me to state the obvious. You know that whenever you are taking your parent or spouse to the doctor you should take all of the medications that they own with you, so the doctor can check. (Don’t count on your memory). Also remember to include over-the-counter meds and even bring supplements and vitamins. Why? I am glad you asked.

The perfect example “why?” is baby aspirin. Doctors are fond of prescribing 81mg baby aspirin to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack because aspirin is a mild blood thinner. If your loved one has ever had a stroke then the doctor has probably also prescribed a stronger blood thinner like Warfarin (Coumadin). But lets look at something else. If you have ever researched anti-oxidants maybe you added supplements like Garlic, or Ginger. Maybe you added a little Ginko Biloba because you read (erroneously) that it is just as effective as Aricept? Fish Oil for Omega 3 seems to be on everyone’s supplement list for heart health too. But you may not be aware that every one of the supplements I have just mentioned are also blood thinners! So it’s best not to take chances and take everything to the doctor.
On average, Americans over the age of 65 have seen more than 28 different doctors in their life () In a Country with every kind of specialty under-the-sun, many seniors are regularly visiting their family doctor, a podiatrist, a neurologist and an internist. Each one may be prescribing different medication, with significant overlap. This is yet another reason to take every pill bottle you can find with you to your next visit to the MD.
Considering how many doctors and medications you’re juggling for your parent or spouse, you may have other reasons to compare drugs and their interactions: Saving money, eliminating unnecessary prescriptions and researching the source of side effects. However, considering how little “face-time” time you get with the doctor, it is a good idea to do your homework first. Generally, a doctor will respect a caregiver that has done a little research. At the very least it gives them a chance to show off their superior knowledge.
Now for that website I promised you in the first paragraph: is my secret website that has wonderful and well written information, and the specific URL that has an amazing free tool that compares medication is: http://healthtools.aarp.org/drug-compare
Please look below for an example of what you will see when you go to the website. I tested it out by comparing Namenda and Aricept. Not only did it give me a great description…it also asked AND answered the most frequent questions that people have…
Please feel free to share this great tool with your friends.

DRUG COMPARE
See how any two drugs stack up on dosage, side effects, interactions, and more.
Drug 1 change drug name

Drug 2 change drug name



Brand:
Aricept
Generic: donepezil View All Brands
A cholinesterase inhibitor – It is used to treat mild to moderate dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease Brand:
Namenda
Generic: memantine View All Brands
A central nervous system agent – It is used to treat dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease
Click a topic below to compare

What is this medicine?

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

How should I use this medicine?

What if I miss a dose?

What may interact with this medicine?

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Where should I keep my medicine?
AND EACH OF THESE QUESTIONS GET VERY GOOD ANSWERS: TAKE A LOOK AGAIN, THIS TIME WITH THE ANSWERS PROVIDED.

Brand:
Aricept
Generic: donepezil Hide All Brands
Aricept, Aricept ODT
A cholinesterase inhibitor – It is used to treat mild to moderate dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease Brand:
Namenda
Generic: memantine Hide All Brands
Namenda
A central nervous system agent – It is used to treat dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease
Click a topic below to compare

What is this medicine?
ARICEPT is used to treat mild to moderate dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
NAMENDA is used to treat dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. This medicine has the the most benefit for moderate to severe stages of the disease.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
o asthma or other lung disease
o difficulty passing urine
o head injury
o heart disease, slow heartbeat
o liver disease
o Parkinson’s disease
o seizures (convulsions)
o stomach or intestinal disease, ulcers or stomach bleeding
o an unusual or allergic reaction to donepezil, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
o pregnant or trying to get pregnant
o breast- feeding
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
o kidney disease
o an unusual or allergic reaction to memantine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
o pregnant or trying to get pregnant
o breast- feeding

How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. You may take this medicine with or without food. Take this medicine at regular intervals. This medicine is usually taken before bedtime. Do not take it more often than directed. Continue to take your medicine even if you feel better. Do not stop taking except on the advice of your doctor or health care professional.

Contact your health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. You may take this medicine with or without food. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Continue to take your medicine even if you feel better. Do not stop taking except on the advice of your doctor or health care professional.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose, do not take double or extra doses.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?
o atropine
o benztropine
o bethanechol
o carbamazepine
o dexamethasone
o dicyclomine
o glycopyrrolate
o hyoscyamine
o ipratropium
o itraconazole or ketoconazole
o medicines for motion sickness
o NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
o other medicines for Alzheimer’s disease
o oxybutynin
o phenobarbital
o phenytoin
o quinidine
o rifampin, rifabutin or rifapentine
o trihexyphenidyl
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non- prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
o dofetilide
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
o acetazolamide
o amantadine
o dextromethorphan
o hydrochlorothiazide
o ketamine
o methazolamide
o sodium bicarbonate
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non- prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Check with your doctor or health care professional if your symptoms do not get better or if they get worse.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this drug affects you.
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Check with your doctor or health care professional if there is no improvement in your symptoms or if they get worse.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this drug affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol can make you more drowsy and dizzy. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
o allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
o changes in vision
o feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
o problems with balance
o slow heartbeat, or palpitations
o stomach pain
o unusual bleeding or bruising, red or purple spots on the skin
o vomiting
o weight loss
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
o diarrhea, especially when starting treatment
o headache
o indigestion or heartburn
o loss of appetite
o muscle cramps
o nausea
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1- 800- FDA- 1088.

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
o agitation or a feeling of restlessness
o confusion
o dizziness
o hallucinations
o shortness of breath
o swelling in throat or tongue
o skin rash or redness, peeling of skin
o vomiting
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
o constipation
o feeling of nausea, upset stomach
o headache
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1- 800- FDA- 1088.


Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

NOTE:This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 degrees and 30 degrees C (59 degrees and 86 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

NOTE:This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
________________________________________
All visitors to AARP.org should seek expert medical care and consult their own physicians for any specific health issues. Read this disclaimer in its entirety.
Content
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Note: This information is not intended to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions, or adverse effects for this drug. If you have question about the drug(s) you are taking, check with your health care professional.

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