Portfolio Naples June/July 2017 - Page 71

D RUG I NTERACTIONS W HICH M AY L EAD TO F ALLS People who take four or more medications may be at an increased risk for having a fall, especially if one of their medications is in the high fall risk medication category. Researchers have found that 40% of people 65+ reported that they are on five medications or more, making the chances of falling greater in this population. Step Smart Collier emphasizes the need to use a single pharmacist for all of your prescription and non-prescription needs. Although this may not always be possible, we do recommend keeping an active list of all medications, including both prescription and OTC (vitamins, herbals, sleep medicine etc.). Make sure you also include medications you take “infrequently” as well, since they may have a major interaction on the days you take them. Something as simple as going to the drug store and picking up a “cold medication” in the cough and cold aisle could result in an interaction with your current medications and lead to a serious fall. Make sure you always check with your health care team before starting a new medication. Health care workers today may look busy, but they want to help. If you are looking for a new vitamin your friend told you about, or you want something to take care of that cough, please feel free to come up to the pharmacy counter and ask. Having your list of all of your medications will help prevent any unwanted interactions and falls. Just because something is “herbal” or over-the-counter does not necessarily mean safe. Most pharmacies today will also verify any new prescription you get for interactions with the medications you are on. However, it is still important you let the pharmacist know all of the medications you are taking since they do not have access to competitor or mail order pharmacies’ records. Taking an extra few minutes can mean the difference of independence or having a fall. S TEPS TO MINIMIZE FALLS AND RELATED INJURIES ere are steps we can help you to take to prevent or minimize any adverse fall. Ask your health care provider about Vitamin D supplementation. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with balance problems, high fall rates, low bone mineral density, and muscle weakness. Some studies have shown a corre- lation between vitamin D deficiency and falls. Ask your health care provider about bisphosphonates. ese are “bone strengthening” medications that don’t nec- essarily prevent falls but they do reduce fracture rate from having the fall itself. Ask your health care provider if you feel dizzy when standing up. You may have what is called orthostatic hypoten- sion. Only your doctor can diagnose this and most of the time there are steps you can take to minimize this risk of falling. Ask your health care provider if you are a diabetic having frequent hypoglycemia. ere are several alternatives which may be available to prevent hypoglycemia and their ways to treat hypoglycemia quickly if you do have it. Ask your health care provider how long you will need to be on the med- ication. Not all medications are life-long. Some medications are meant for short term (i.e. a few weeks to a few months) and may be tapered off. In conclusion, the partnership of Step Smart Collier and Walgreens is making it pos- sible for seniors to reduce their risk of injury or worse caused by medication interaction. Keri Kratofil: Walgreens SW Florida Director www.stepsmartcollier.org PORTFOLIO MAGAZINE 69