Why elders confuse medicines

Occasionally, the industry pharmaceutical , in its eagerness to modernize the presentations, colors and formats of your medicines, incurs the error of not taking into account the opinion of older adults.

According to a study recently awarded by the Official College of Pharmacists of Barcelona (COFB), this situation can increase the risk of intoxications and hinder the therapeutic result.

The issue is not merely aesthetic. A study, which analyzed the 100 most medicinal products dispensed in pharmacies in Barcelona for two months, showed that the use of similar colors in identical packaging and presentations between different drugs but from the same laboratory, in which only the name or dosage varies, They could confuse those who used them habitually and, especially, the elderly.

The COFB emphasizes the convenience of adapting presentations to facilitate and improve the use of prescribed medicines.

 

Greater difficulties

The study is very relevant given that the population over 65 is increasing significantly in many societies and because it is the population group that takes more drugs.

Among the most important difficulties, the study highlights the following: in relation to the external packaging of medicines, the expiration date is not clearly identified, there is confusion in the retail price, the printing ink is not adequate or the numbers should be larger to facilitate reading.

Regarding the degree of difficulty to open the inner container and obtain the medication, eye drops and tubes of effervescent tablets, are the most difficult to handle.

On the prospects of the analyzed drugs, there are complaints regarding the size of the letter: an older person is too small and it makes reading difficult, once again, the eye drops are the ones that qualify with the worst result, since the issue of the age must be added vision problems.

In some leaflets contradictory information was detected, unclear instructions or the same text was included for all presentations, which makes it difficult to identify the dose that the sick person is taking.

 

Some solutions

In order to solve the incidents detected, the study suggests that, in the case of the leaflets, the different sections (composition, indication, posology, precautions or side effects) are always indicated in the same order in all the medicines to facilitate the search for information by the patient.

Also, it is convenient to include instruments to facilitate the administration of drugs (syringes, spoons, etc.) that should clearly have the dosage signals visible.

Within the activities aimed at improving the use of drugs, the working group of the COFB Pharmaceutical Care for the Elderly, presented a project that proposes to use pictograms on the outside of the containers, in order to strengthen the council and the Instructions for use of medications.


Video Medicine: Training video: delirium in an elderly patient (June 2021).