Drug-to-drug interactions (DDIs) and potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) are a common problem.At least 2 million seniors are taking potentially dangerous combinations of drugs according to estimates from a National Institutes of Health and University of Chicago study. The adverse effects range from increased vulnerability to side effects to potentially deadly combinations, sometimes involving prescriptions interacting with over-the-counter medications and supplements.
Primaris encourages physicians, pharmacists and other health care providers to take action against DDIs and PIMs. Make sure patients are aware of the dangers and encourage them to share all of the medications they might be taking, including supplements and over-the-counter drugs.
Use the following resources to enhance your drug safety efforts.
Warning! The FDA has issued an alert warning consumers and healthcare professionals about the potential for harmful drug-to-drug interaction while taking the over-the-counter drug "Maalox Total Relief" for individuals already on blood thinners such as Warfarin.
Safe Prescribing Principles for the Elderly (PDF 432 KB) – This handout outlines key principles to follow when prescribing drugs to the elderly. Covering drug regimen considerations to non-drug alternatives, these tips can help guide physicians when addressing medication concerns for this age group.
Flyer: Using a Blood Thinner? Tell your doctor (PDF 358 KB) – This flyer, adapted from IPRO, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for the state of New York, educates patients on the importance of telling their care providers if the are currently taking a blood-thinner, a medication that slows blood clotting. It is also available as a poster. (PDF 3.8 MB)
Flyer: All Medications Have Risks (PDF 734 KB) – This flyer, developed by the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Care, educates patients about medication risks. Suitable for printing on normal office paper (8.5- by 11-inch).
Poster: All Medications Have Risks (PDF 4,371 KB) – Also developed by the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Care, this poster educates patients about medication risks. This is a large file suitable for printing as an 11- by 17-inch poster.
Brochure: Medication Safety for Seniors (PDF 1,038 KB) – This brochure on medication safety compares the human body to an engine and advises seniors to talk to their doctors and pharmacists about the medications they are taking. It includes section that consumers can use to list their medications and help avoid drug interactions.
Blood Thinner Pills: Your Guide to Using Them Safely (PDF 360 KB) – This guide for patients, provided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), explains what to expect and what to watch out for during therapy.
Seven Common Misinterpreted Pharmacy Warning Labels (PDF 905 KB) – Warning labels can confuse the elderly. This flyer can be useful in reminding pharmacists of ways elderly patients misinterpret instructions.
Tips for Talking with Your Pharmacist (PDF 97 KB) – Because 70% of elderly adults do not take their medications correctly, it is important to clear up misconceptions. This FDA brochure can help consumers remember key questions to clarify before taking medications.
B-Safe Brochure (PDF 689 KB) -- This brochure aims to educate patients about the risks of drug-to-drug interactions while taking blood thinners such as warfarin. This brochure is ready-to-use as is or you can request your hospital's logo to be placed into the brochure by emailing Jeremy Milarsky at email@example.com.