Medication mistakes can be deadly for seniors. Here's how you can avoid them

We all recognize that medications can save lives, but most of us have heard alarming stories about patients who have been given incorrect medication – either due to an issue with the health care provider or pharmacy. What many people don’t think about is that there is a hidden risk even when we get the correct medication — the danger of non-adherence.

As with driving down the wrong side of the road, using a prescription improperly is dangerous. For that matter, it is more so — 125,000 individuals die every single year attributable to prescription medication non-adherence, two times the number who die in car accidents. While many people might think they are following the rules when it comes to their prescription medications, elderly medication errors happen frequently. These mistakes include:

  • Failure to fill or refill a prescribed medication
  • Missing one or more dosages
  • Taking the wrong medication
  • Taking more of the prescription than prescribed
  • Prematurely stopping medication
  • Improper use of equipment such as inhalers or syringes
  • Taking outdated, damaged, or inappropriately stored medications


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