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MEDICATION MISUSE AND THE ELDERLY

 MEDICATION MISUSE AND THE ELDERLY
 SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- When people think of


drug abuse and misuse they most frequently envision this nation's youth; however, it is the older American to whom they should also direct their attention.
 The elderly are probably the group most at risk of having problems with the negative effects of taking prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and this stems from a variety of reasons. As we grow older we tend to become more susceptible to ailments such as arthritis, heart disease and high blood pressure. Naturally, different medications are prescribed for each medical problem, and when an older person has multiple ailments they are taking multiple medications, and thus run the risk of contraindications and drug interactions.
 In addition, the older person frequently forgets which medications have been taken from one time to the next so they will compensate by taking more or less of the medication at the next scheduled time, depending upon their memory of the previous dosage.
 Many of our elderly will do a self-diagnosis of their medical condition and then exchange medications with a friend or neighbor who experienced similar symptoms.
 All of these actions lead to very serious adverse impacts upon the older person who is engaged in such drug misuse. According to pharmacist Donald W. Gubbins, much of the problem with drug misuse by the elderly could be ameliorated if an effort was made "by pharmacists and physicians to recognize inappropriate patterns of drug use among the elderly and address the issue with their patients."
 "Another way to reduce the risk of medication misuse by seniors is to have medicine reviews, also known as brown bag reviews," said Gary Kuwabara, interim director for the California Department of Aging. Kuwabara explained that the term "brown bag was coined because the seniors usually toss all of their prescription and over-the-counter drugs in a brown bag to take to the pharmacist or other medical professional to discuss appropriate use of the medications."
 The National Council on Patient Information and Education in cooperation with the Administration on Aging is asking that all states encourage a "brown bag" medicine review throughout the local communities. Anyone wishing to learn more about how to conduct a medicine review should contact the California Department of Aging at 916-322-3887.
 -0- 4/28/92
 /CONTACT: Paige Talley of California Department of Aging, 916-322-0789/ CO: California Department of Aging ST: California IN: SU:


SM -- NYSFNS18 -- 3508 04/28/92 07:28 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 28, 1992
Words:412
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