Medicine is an important part of treatment for many health conditions. For medications to be most effective and work safely, you need to take them exactly as prescribed. If you experience problems, such as new symptoms or side effects, talk to your doctor immediately.
Check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new medications
Many seniors see multiple specialists to treat different conditions. Some drugs, including over-the-counter medicines that your doctor may not realize you’re taking, can interact with existing medication and potentially cause problems.
Create a comprehensive list of all the medicines, vitamins, herbal remedies and supplements you take, and share it with your doctors. Having a clear picture of everything you’re putting into your body will help them provide safer and more effective care.
It’s important to keep track of when you’ll run out of your medicine. Don’t wait until you have only a few pills left. Use a calendar to remind yourself to get refills. It may be dangerous to suddenly stop a medicine, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what to do if you miss a dose.
If you were given a prescription during a hospital or emergency room visit, it may only be enough medicine until you can see your regular doctor. Ask the discharging physician about how long you should continue the new medicines.
A bit about statins
Statins are medicines that help with cholesterol, which is a fat-like substance in the blood. There is good and bad cholesterol. Having too much bad cholesterol in your blood vessels can raise your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Many people with diabetes take statins because they’re at higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Statins must be taken regularly as prescribed to work well and lower your risk. If you stop, your risk for heart attack and stroke may go back up.
A key part of your treatment and safety is to make and go to all appointments, and talk to your doctor if you experience problems.
KAISER FOUNDATION HEALTH PLAN, INC.
711 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
808-432-5915 (TTY 711) | www.kp.org
To learn more about this and other topics, visit www.kp.org/health and www.kp.org/seniorhealth. This article contains health and wellness or prevention information.