Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Problems With Medications


In a recent newsletter from Shelley Webb at The Eldercare Support Group wrote about how to find a compounding pharmacy because her dad is having difficulty swallowing now. This reminded me that so many people don't understand that not all medications can be crushed or chewed safely. In fact, some shouldn't be altered at all. So I wrote this article at Suite101.com about Taking Medications Correctly.

Anyone who is chronically ill, aging or is on hospice care can have great difficulty taking medications. Some may go down easily while others stick or choke. And it's not always the ones you might suspect that cause the trouble. Some people can swallow the horse pills just fine, and have an awful time with the tiny ones. So it's hard to predict.

People with dementia may refuse to take the medications and anyone who is dying may not be conscious or alert enough to swallow them reliably. This presents a dilemma for the caregivers. In some instances, medications can be crushed and put into a small spoonful of pudding, Jello, or applesauce. A little bit of jelly or even peanut butter can work too. But you have to be sure you get all of the medication into the bite and that it is safe to crush this medication. Ask the pharmacist!

Some meds can be dispensed in liquid form. If your mom or dad still refuses it because of dementia, you can add it to a small glass of juice. But not too much because you need to be sure they finish it.

Some medications need to be altered by a special pharmacist known as the compounding pharmacist. Discuss your issues with the physician and have him/her contact a compounding pharmacy. The talk it over with the pharmacist to figure out the best way to administer this medication.