Talk About Your Medicine Month

Published: October 12, 2022

Talk About Your Medicine Month

As we get older, it is likely that we will need medication for chronic illness or injury. In the United States, 24% of adults reported taking at least three medications in the last 30 days. Another 12% take five more medications. That’s a lot to keep on track!

October is “Talk About Your Medications” month. It brings awareness to the idea that we should have our medications routinely reviewed. As we age, changes in our bodies affect the way that medication is absorbed. Weight loss or gain, or changes in circulation can affect the way that our bodies break down medication. A medication that worked well may no longer be as effective for us—or worse, harmful. And more health conditions may mean more medications, each addition bringing with it a chance for an interaction with another drug.

There are different types of drug interactions. Drug-drug interactions can make one drug less effective or another stronger than normal. Drug-condition happens when a condition a person has, such as high blood pressure, could change the way a drug works. And drug-food interactions happen when a food changes the way a drug works. For example, dairy products decrease the absorption of antibiotics. And many medicines don’t mix well with alcohol.

That’s why it is so important for older adults to have their medications regularly reviewed by primary care providers and pharmacists.

Here are some things to keep in mind when talking with a healthcare provider about your medication.

  • Make sure you talk about all your medication—that includes over-the-counter medications like cold and flu medicines. And don’t forget things like eye drops or inhalers! All medicine counts when you are discussing possible drug interactions.
  • Be upfront about your diet and how much alcohol you consume.
  • Bring a friend or loved one with you if you think you might forget some of the information your doctor needs.
  • Make a note of any new symptoms you have been having.

Proper medication management helps older adults stay healthy, out of the hospital, and independent at home. Here are some tips to help older adults keep track of their medication:

  • Store all your medication in the same spot. It helps if you have only one place to look for your medication.
  • Put medications in a cool place away from pets or children.
  • Keep a record of the medication you take and when you take it.
  • Talk to your doctor if changes in your vision or memory are making it difficult to take your medications on time and in the correct dose.