Abstract and Introduction
With age comes the prospect of multiple health problems that require treatment with multiple medications. The likelihood of coronary artery disease, arthritis, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension increases with age, and along with them comes the need for multiple drug therapies. Also, many elderly people take over-the-counter (OTC) medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
When caring for an older adult taking multiple medications, keep in mind that:
concurrent use of multiple medications increases the potential for adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and drug interactions
age-related pharmacokinetic changes can alter drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion; for example, many elderly patients have renal impairment, which affects drug absorption and excretion and can alter blood drug levels
age-related changes in pharmacodynamics can alter a drug's effects
compliance with medication regimens may decrease in elderly patients, who may have difficulty keeping track of multiple medication schedules
patients may be treated by multiple physicians, who may be prescribing drugs without knowledge of other medications the patient is taking.
Am Nurs Journal. 2012;7(1) © 2012 HealthCom Media