For Med Safety, Work With Your Pharmacist

When medications are not properly administered, the result can be harmful — even fatal. Research indicates there is a vital need for people to manage their medications to avoid adverse drug reactions. This is especially true for our kūpuna.

According to one study, adverse drug events accounted for 4.5 million visits to outpatient settings and emergency rooms nationally per year. Adults over 65 had the highest adverse drug events rate. The odds of these events increased in proportion to the number of medications taken. Public health officials are especially concerned about older adults who take five or more medications.

Although Hawai‘i’s kūpuna generally use fewer prescription drugs compared to their counterparts across the nation, they still fill an average of 25.7 prescriptions per year.

The Hawaii Pharmacists Association (HPhA) and the Honolulu Subarea Health Planning Council (HONSAC) have begun a public education program promoting patient safety in self-administered medications for our kūpuna through locally produced public service announcements that will air statewide. The three new PSAs remind kūpuna to “know” their medications, adhere to all medication guidelines and take advantage of any additional pharmaceutical services that provide healthcare benefits. The campaign empowers kūpuna to work with their pharmacists in preventing harm from self-administered medications.

“The PSAs serve as a reminder that pharmacists are a resource whom kūpuna can rely on for medication management that must be carefully executed to avoid adverse drug events and other types of patient harm,” said HPhA President Dr. Janelle Siu.

“For kūpuna, pharmacists are sometimes the most accessible healthcare practitioners, so we want to encourage the kūpuna to feel comfortable in asking their pharmacists questions about their prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vaccinations or any other services the pharmacy can provide,” said Dr. Wes Sumida, who chairs HONSAC. “We want them to “Ask questions. Get the answers. Age wisely.”

PO Box 22954, Honolulu, HI 96823 |
View the PSAs:,,


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