The Importance of Psychiatric Medication Management for Seniors
Updated: Mar 5
The importance of close psychiatric medication management for seniors cannot be overstated. Many seniors are prescribed many medications by a number of different doctors and medical specialists. This can begin to be a problem if all of the medications are not being closely monitored by a knowledg
eable physician familiar with various types of drugs, their side effects and the special medication adjustment needs of older adults.
Some seniors are prescribed multiple psychiatric medications as well. Elders can develop unusual symptoms that could be simply a reaction from certain prescribed or over-the-counter drugs. These sorts of adverse symptoms from medications could be misconstrued by caregivers.
Aging presents some challenges when various types of medications are taken by elders these days. In the past, doctors often prescribed different anti-anxiety drugs to combat various anxiety related symptoms. Some common anti-anxiety drugs include Xanax, Ativan and Valium to name just a few. These drugs are now known to react differently in elderly individuals.
Some of the commonly encountered adverse drug reactions in seniors that could be caused by anti-anxiety medications include development of mood swings, such as anger outbursts, in patients not known to have these symptoms before. As a result, many psychiatrists warn that seniors require a much more intense psychiatric medication management plan than younger patients, and certain anti-anxiety drugs should not be given to the elderly in most circumstances.
Seniors Might Metabolize Medications Differently
It is not uncommon for elderly individuals to have difficulties with multiple medications taken together. A large number of seniors might metabolize commonly prescribed medications differently than their younger counterparts. This means that a drug given for muscle relaxation might not follow the same parameters when considering absorption amounts and time frames that the drug gets into the patient's bloodstream. Certain drugs should only be used with great caution in older individuals, and all medications given to older patients require strict medical evaluation and monitoring.
Elderly Patients Are More Prone to Adverse Drug Reactions
Many pharmacists and other healthcare professionals caution that elderly patients are far more prone to adverse drug reactions than someone younger taking the same drugs. This is often caused due to multiple medications being prescribed that can interact with each other causing unwanted symptoms.
Additionally, certain heart and blood pressure medications can either be intensified or can be counteracted when eating certain foods or drinking various beverages. These substances, such as grapefruit juice or garlic, can cause the patient to not get the full dosage of their most important medications if not supervised closely by the medical team. Alternately, some items ingested can cause too much medication release that could cause patient problems if not closely monitored by health professionals.
Pharmacists Can Be Invaluable in Medication Management for Elders
Seniors and their concerned family members and/or caregivers should ensure that one pharmacist is keeping track of all of the various medications being prescribed by multiple healthcare providers. An elder's pharmacist should be considered an important member of an elder's entire healthcare team.
These diligent healthcare professionals are trained to know and monitor the possible dangerous side effects of specific medications and drug interactions. This can limit the chances of a serious drug interaction in senior patients immensely. Most hospitals and nursing care facilities have a pharmacist available to review senior patient's medication regimens.
Seniors and/or their caregivers should keep their pharmacist apprised of any new medications including anything taken over-the-counter. This also includes vitamins, herbs and mineral supplements.
Benefits of Psychiatric Medication Management for Elders
Seniors who take psychiatric medications should always be evaluated by a psychiatrist in Raleigh or elsewhere if at all possible. These types of drugs have different dosage parameters and usage options that psychiatrists are trained to administer correctly.
Additionally, there are other terrific benefits of psychiatric medication management for elderly individuals that can include the need for less medications, prompt assessments of troublesome side effect development and better overall drug management in general.
Provide All Healthcare Team Members a List of Current Medications
Many serious reactions from medications can be avoided just by providing all members of a senior's healthcare team a list of their current medications on a regular basis. This is far easier today with the prevalence of computerized technologies that physicians and other healthcare providers have available today.
There are some excellent psychiatrists in the Raleigh, NC area who can provide intensive psychiatric medication management for seniors. This is a crucial component of healthcare monitoring that all seniors and their caregivers should take full advantage of for increased safe drug usage. Call ahead to schedule an appointment soon, and feel free to browse more blog articles here as well.