May 3, 2017 – Tweaking Meds


Anchor lead: Could scrutiny of prescription medicines help people take them appropriately? Elizabeth Tracey reports

125,000 people die each year because they haven’t taken their prescribed medications correctly, a recent study asserts. Alicia Arbaje, a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, says primary care docs can help, by carefully evaluating every medicine a person is taking a minimum of two times each year.

Arbaje: I recommend that older adults reevaluate and revise their healthcare goals at least twice a year. So I say choose your birthday and then pick one other day during the year in which you go to your healthcare provider and reevaluate your medications. For every medication they should ask themselves and their healthcare provider do I still need this medication, do I still need it at the same dose, and is there an alternative to this medication such as making a change to my diet, my exercise regimen, my sleep habits, my lifestyle? :31

Arbaje says barriers to correct medication adherence must be identified for each individual so that solutions can be created, noting that one in ten hospitalizations is thought to be due to failure to take prescriptions as written. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.