Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes differ among patients across their life spans. For geriatric patients, alterations due to aging make them especially prone to adverse drug reactions. The various health issues that affect many geriatric patients further complicate this, as the need to treat these multiple health issues often results in polypharmacy. Although treatments are frequently drugs prescribed by the health care provider, many geriatric patients also take over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. While the provider sometimes recommends these OTC drugs, patients often select the drugs on their own. This makes patient education on pharmacology key when caring for geriatric patients. Many patients assume that if drugs are available over the counter, then they are safe to take. However, due to issues related to polypharmacy and how their aging bodies process drugs, OTC drugs may have serious implications for patients.
- Select one of the following over-the-counter drugs commonly used by geriatric patients:
- Antacids or acid suppressants
- Antimicrobial ointments
- Antispasmodics for the bladder
- Cough suppressants
- Neutraceuticals (choose one; e.g., ginseng, St. John’s wart, etc.)
- Pain medications (choose one; e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen, rub-on pain ointments/patches, etc.)
- Supplements (choose one; e.g., calcium, iron, etc.)
- Vaginal creams
- Research the over-the-counter drug you selected. Visit a local pharmacy and explore the types/varieties of the drug that are available. Reflect on the ingredients in each type/variety, including additional active ingredients.
- Consult with the pharmacist about the ingredients in each type/variety, including how to make safe and effective clinical decisions in relation to this drug. Discuss potential interactions in frail elders and precautions related to the drug based on Beers Criteria. If one is available, you may consult with a pharmacist at your practicum site as an alternative to visiting a pharmacy.
- Consider ways to educate elders about the OTC drug you selected.
By Day 5
Post a PowerPoint presentation that addresses the following:
- Describe the over-the-counter drug that you selected.
- Identify the types/varieties of the drug that are available. Describe the ingredients in each type/variety including additional active ingredients.
- Explain the key information that you need to know about this OTC drug to make safe and effective clinical decisions. Include potential interactions in frail elders and describe any precautions related to the drug based on Beers Criteria.
- Explain how you would educate elders about the OTC drug you selected.