Make sure you're using medication safelyIt’s well known that age is a leading risk factor for many diseases and conditions that require regular use of various medications. Even though medications can help people to live longer, healthier lives, it’s important that seniors pay close attention to how to safely use their medication because many drugs have side effects that can actually be harmful if used incorrectly.

Keeping your doctor up to speed on the medications you’re taking is the most effective way to ensure safe medicine use. Whether it’s a prescription drug, over-the-counter medications or daily vitamins, he or she will be able to help make sure you’re using everything correctly and benefitting to the fullest from your medicine.

Tips for Talking to Your Doctor about Medications

To inform your doctor about all of your medications and how they’re affecting your health, try these helpful tips:

  • Bring all of your medication bottles, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and vitamins, to your next doctor’s visit. This will give you the opportunity to have questions answered and address any issues you may be experiencing.
  • If you’re unsure why you’re taking a drug, ask your doctor. It’s important that you’re aware of the role medications play in managing your medical condition.
  • Let your doctor know if you’re not taking a medication as directed — for example, if you begin to reduce, skip, or stop medication dosages altogether because of side effects (or for any other reason).
  • If cost is an area of concern, ask your doctor about generic options or other lower-cost alternatives.

Remember, too, that some foods, drinks or activities may cause your medications to be ineffective or even harmful to your health. Be sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist about how to properly take your prescription. Also, remember to keep your medicine out of reach from your grandchildren so they can’t easily access it.

If you have pharmacy benefits as part of your health insurance, check to see if your insurance company offers useful medication information online. Highmark members can find details on prescription alternatives, side effects and even locate a nearby pharmacy by logging in to their member website and clicking on the Prescriptions tab on the homepage.