Medicines are not candy.
SIMI PHARMACY sells many over-the-counter products but we always invite our customers to ASK about what they are buying
WE CAN TELL YOU IF AN INGREDIENT IN AN OVER-THE-COUNTER PRODUCT
THAT IS IN ONE OF YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS, OR IF IT IS
A POSSIBLE RISK FOR YOU.
What does that mean … possible risk?
Even if a medicine can be bought without prescription, care must still be taken to consume the right dosage.
You might suppose that the “right dosage” is whatever is written on the bottle but that may not be true. A person who is taking a prescription medicine and then self-medicates with an over-the-counter product may wind up in the hospital.
This is particularly true for older people. When it comes to a bad experiences resulting from interaction of two or more drugs, in more than half of such cases, the victim is an older person. For one thing, older people buy more over the counter medications than younger people – mainly pain-killers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, and diphenhydramine – but also sedatives such as benzodiazepines (which includes temazepam, diazepam and lorazepam). It is common for people older than 65 years to be taking at two or more prescription medications. They may be taking a particular ingredient in their prescription medication and then they consume an over-the-counter product which contains the same ingredient. Result: OVER-DOSE!
Doctors may not know that their patients regularly take over-the-counter products, or which products they are taking. This can have dangerous consequences.
Duplication of treatment and doubling up of medicines is not the only problem. Another complication stems from physiological changes that occur as the body ages.
The older we get, the slower our metabolism.
Young people’s kidneys work pretty fast. Old people’s kidneys … not so much. This means it takes longer to flush drugs out of the body.
Older people typically have more fat and less muscle mass. Muscle holds relatively more water than fat. The result is that the body retains fat-soluble drugs longer and gets rid of water-soluble drugs faster.
Older bodies process drugs differently than younger bodies. A dosage that was perfectly safe for a person at 50 may be risky at age 70.
In fact, a doctor may weigh up his patient’s condition and decide to switch out a drug that worked well for years. It may no longer be working effectively, or it may be causing side-effects.
If this is the case with prescription medicines, it is going to be true of over-the-counter products too.
An older person’s general rule of thumb should be “less is more”. From time to time, older people should sit down their doctor and go over the whole list of medications they are taking – including, the occasional over-the-counter products. If at all possible, simplify the list,
You might have heard of the Beers Criteria. If you haven’t, let us first of all clarify that it has nothing to do with a mildly intoxicating beverage. The Criteria is actually a long list, originally compiled about ten years ago and named for famous geriatrician Dr Mark H. Beers. His research on drug interactions among the elderly resulted in the list named after him. It lists medications that may have very unwanted side effects in older patients.
The most recent version of the Beers Criteria includes 30 medications or medication classes that most older individuals should avoid and 40 medications or medication classes that they should use with caution.
The entire list can be seen at https://www.pharmacyquality.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Beers-List-350301.pdf
The Criteria identifies drug or drug class, the concern(s) about it and other considerations (e.g., drug interactions, alternatives).
Remember, “OTC” – over-the-counter — is not synonymous with “safe”. This is not to say that you should not use OTC products, but check with your pharmacist before you take anything. After all, this is our area of specialization.
SIMI PHARMACY WANTS YOU
TO BE WELL AND SAFE.