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Answering the Call®

Middle-aged woman helping her father with his medications
If you're confused about the many prescriptions and over the counter medications Mom and Dad are taking, join the crowd.

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If you're confused about the many medications Mom and Dad are taking, join the crowd. On average seniors ages 85 and older take 34 prescriptions, including refills, per year, according to the ASCP. The average number of unique prescriptions for that group is 6.3. The 75 to 84 age group is nearly as high with an average of just over 33 prescriptions per year and 6.7 unique prescriptions.

Seniors on many medications go down a slippery slope that can lead to disaster if their medications are not properly managed, according to a representative for the ASCP. Adverse or unfavorable drug reactions (ADRs) are responsible for 28 percent of hospitalizations of the elderly, the organization reports.

"Adverse drug reactions are very common and not always recognized by patient or doctor as side effects of a drug," said Thomas Clark, RPh, MHS, CGP, director of Clinical Affairs for the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists and the ASCP Foundation, who served as an expert source for the Answering the Call® program.

According to the ASCP, common types of medication-related problems include untreated conditions, accidental overdosing, adverse drug reactions and drug interactions.

The Answering the Call® program, which features a Senior Emergency KitSM, can help older adults and their families track medications to avoid problems. This toolkit provides family caregivers with everything they need to be prepared for an emergency.

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Last revised: April 12, 2011

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