You don’t stay the same. Why should your medication?
As people age, their medications usually change. They move from treatments for acute conditions like acid reflux disease and allergies to drugs for chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes. Other issues become more important: the timing of taking meds, what to take them with, and potential interactions. Plus, more Baby Boomers are trying to extend their youth as much as possible through diet, exercise and supplementation. Today, age doesn’t necessarily equal medication. That’s why its important to get professional advice on what to take as your life changes.*
Ages 45 to 55
Past the mid-40s, many people start taking pain relievers when they start experiencing new aches and pains. Some have more trouble sleeping. Conditions they previously ignored, such as heart disease or osteoporosis, may become relevant.
Many people at this stage don’t want to take prescriptions. Fortunately, if you catch a condition early enough, a good pharmacist can advise you about preventive measures such as supplements, and help you make lifestyle changes that may let you avoid prescription medications.
Ages 55 to 65
People in this age range tend to have more chronic conditions. They may have trouble sleeping. They don’t recover from injuries or illnesses as quickly. They want solutions, from fish oil to mature vitamins, that will help turn back the clock.
In this stage, people are more likely to experiment with different supplements and multiple pharmacies. That’s risky. Instead, fill all your prescriptions at one pharmacy so you have one pharmacist who knows everything you’re taking. Any time your medication changes or you stop taking something, notify your pharmacist. And always ask about options for relieving side effects.
Beyond age 65, many people are on fixed incomes. So, while it’s still important to use one pharmacy and avoid interactions, cost control is crucial. Money is a huge reason that people stop taking medication. When Sams Club began selling some generic drugs for $4,** I had people tell me, Now I don’t have to choose between paying my electric bill and taking my medication.
Pharmacists can work with your physician to make sure you are getting all the best options with regard to cost, effectiveness and value.
* Consult your physician or pharmacist before starting or changing any medication or supplement. Follow all dosing instructions.
**Prescription program includes up to a 30-day supply for $4 and a 90-day supply for $10 of some covered generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages. Prices for some drugs covered by the prescription program may be higher and may vary in some states. Restrictions apply. See your Sams Club Pharmacist for details.
Ben Thankachan is a registered pharmacist and senior buyer, Pharmacy OTC products, for Sams Club.