The Other Side of 50

Pharmacy manager in Fairfield details medication safety

By From page OSF4 | July 10, 2014

FAIRFIELD — They call it a medicine cabinet, but Vijay Vora, pharmacy manager at the Walgreens on North Texas Street, doesn’t like it.

“I wish they didn’t,” he told seniors.

The humidity in bathrooms can damage medicines, Vora said.

Speaking at the Senior Advocate Committee Meeting at the Fairfield Senior Center, the pharmacist spoke about medication safety and prescription drug use by older patients – including why keeping pills in a medicine cabinet can pose problems.

The average patient over 65 uses two to four different prescription drugs at the same time, Vora said, and more than 9 million adverse drug reactions occur in older Americans yearly.

Oversedation, falls and bleeding are among adverse drug effects.

Proper monitoring of medicines includes keeping a current list of all drugs and periodically reviewing drugs for their continued need, said the pharmacist.

Some over-the-counter herbal supplement and vitamins are not safe or effective, he said, although some people believe that since they’re sold at stores, they’re safe.

Their sales don’t guarantee their safety, Vora said during his talk.

Using multiple pharmacies for medicines complicates matters, he said.

“We don’t get to see what you’re taking,” he said. “Wherever you go, try to stick with the same pharmacy.”

A comprehensive medicine review can be undertaken, said Vora, who emphasized the power of communication.

“Talk to your pharmacists,” he advised. “Talk to your doctor.”

Drugs meant to be taken for a month may be continued because of confusion by the patient about their use.

Walgreens is providing a “talking pill bottle” for the sight-impaired. It records the pharmacist’s voice with instructions for the medicine. Beeps tell the user when to take the medicine.

Vora also urged people to get yearly flu shots.

“It’s getting smarter,” he said of a new virus appearing annually. “But we’re staying on top of it.”

The flu vaccine is the best protection available from influenza and its complications, Vora said. Thousands die in the United States because of the flu and many more are hospitalized.

Tell the person who gives you the vaccine if you have any severe, life-threatening allergies, have ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome – also called GBS – or if you’re not feeling well. People feeling ill may be advised to wait until they feel better.

But you should return, noted a vaccine information statement that Vora provided.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

Ryan McCarthy


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