Patient advocate Johanna Trimble tells her story about her mother-in-law becoming ill and confused due to a medication. Read the full story here.
I am fortunate that I remain in good health, now into my seventies. However, like many seniors I do have high blood pressure, so I digest two prescriptions daily to control that problem. And, also like many seniors (males, in particular), I have “plumbing problems,” so I am prescribed two pills for that. Finally, to keep cholesterol at bay, a statin pill a day for a grand total of FIVE prescriptions!My daughter suggested that the next time I see my doctor, to tell him I would like to review the list of prescriptions with him to see if I could cut one from the list. My doctor took me through each and, noted that I, in fact, had a THIRD prescription for my prostate oriented “plumbing problems.” “Let’s take one off that list and see what happens,” Doc says. I stopped taking it and noted no subsequent deterioration at all in related symptoms. Next time I see him I will see if we can knock one more off the list. Never felt better!
After mom fell, the community pharmacist reviewed all of her medications and found that some of them could be contributing to her falls. This never occurred to me, and I was surprised that it was missed when she was in hospital.
I wasn’t sure why the doctor wanted me to review medications with the pharmacist, and was worried it meant I was in trouble. I thought about cancelling, as I didn’t see why it was necessary. After an hour, I left taking fewer pills, at fewer times during they day and was so glad I came.
The pharmacist took on the responsibility and made the medication changes we suggested when the physician was unavailable. The patient was hallucinating and very distressed. Without her we would have had to wait weeks to get the signature to implement these changes. Thanks to her intervention, by the time the doctor was available, the patient was already improving.
I was taking sleeping pills to help me sleep through my leg spasms at night. The pharmacist pointed out that rather than drugging myself to sleep, it would be more appropriate to take a medication to treat the spasms themselves.
The pharmacist noticed that mom’s blood pressure was erratic. She called me, and together we did some looking. Mom had been hoarding her pills rather than taking them consistently. She helped me in setting up more assistance so mom isn’t managing her medications alone anymore. Now that she is taking them regularly we have been able to reduce the doses and number of drugs mom is on.
I was concerned about mom’s medication costs, so I asked the pharmacist to look into it. I thought she would negotiate a lower bill, but instead she looked deeper and found that mom was taking medications and supplements she didn’t really need anymore. The pharmacist reduced the cost by simplifying the drugs and initiating a clean-up of these unnecessary medications.