Pill Organizers: The Hidden Danger for Seniors posted on: 12-09-2016

Massachusettes senior careWith the average senior taking anywhere between 15 and 18 different prescriptions each day, it’s certainly easy to understand the prevalence of missed or incorrect doses – and the health risks that go along with those. Enter the pill organizer: such a simple concept of placing the correct meds into the appropriate little boxes each day. Problem solved, right?

Surprisingly, a recent study points to a far different outcome. Seniors accustomed to taking medications directly from the original packaging who switched to a pill organizer were inundated with health issues, including falls, hypoglycemia, and in one case, a patient unable to get out of the tub until a rescue 12 hours later.

The study involved 29 seniors over age 75 who were not using pill organizers and were, unintentionally, not taking their prescriptions as directed by their physicians. For eight weeks, half of the seniors began using a pill organizer, while the other half continued taking their prescriptions as they always had.

Surprisingly, the health concerns realized were only in those seniors who had begun using pill organizers. The theory behind these startling results stems from the idea that the seniors were missing doses or taking their prescriptions incorrectly prior to using the pill organizer, and were experiencing side effects from taking full doses of their meds.

Lead researcher Dr. Debi Bhattacharya stresses the need for those preparing to switch to a pill organizer to first consult with their physician or pharmacist to verify dosage amounts. And she clarifies, “People who are already using a pill organizer without any ill effects should not stop using it as they do seem to help some patients take their medication as prescribed. It’s the switching stage which appears to be the danger.”

North River Home Care, serving eastern Massachusetts, can help with medication reminders to ensure seniors take prescriptions when they’re supposed to, transportation to pick up prescriptions, and assistance with noting any adverse reactions that can be reported to the physician immediately. Give us a call at (781) 659-1366 for the invaluable assistance of keeping your senior loved one safe and healthy.