Facts About Medication Poisonings In Senior Adults
Adults over age 60:
- Consume 1/4 of all prescription medicines and more than 1/3 of all over the counter drug products.
- Senior adult medication exposures account for 45% of all poisonings and 41% of all poison related deaths in the U.S.
- 83% take at least one prescription medicine.
- 50% take three or more prescription medicines.
- One in 10 older adults have experienced a poisoning in the home, most frequently from taking the wrong type of medication.
Why are seniors at high risk for medication poisoning?
- 50% have no regular routine for taking their medications.
- Seniors take multiple medications with potential interactions.
- Seniors are more likely to have vision problems which could affect their ability to read labels.
- Seniors have an increased sensitivity to the effects of drug.
Seniors with medications affect grandchildren:
- 65% of seniors choose non-child-resistant closures on medicine bottles.
- Up to 36% of poisonings in children take place in the grandparents’ home.
- Up to 20% of poisonings in children involve a grandparents’ medication.
How the Poison Center can help:
- The toll-free hotline, 1-800-222-1222, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergencies or questions.
- Information about medication reactions.
- Information about over-the-counter or herbal diet supplements.
- Free brochures and phone stickers are available on topics such as poison-proofing the home, first aid, poisonous plants, poisonous critters and more.
- Free educational programs to all age groups.
How to prevent poisoning:
- Be prepared for emergencies by posting a telephone sticker with the poison hotline number, 1-800-222-1222.
- Develop a system that shows if medications were taken on time.
- Medications kept in pill-minders should be locked up, away from children.
- Before taking dietary supplements or herbal products, consult a physician or pharmacist.
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