Pharmacy seminar explains common medications

South Cove Manor hosted a breakfast seminar on medications for about 50 seniors on July 27 at Boston Chinese Evangelical Church. Guest speaker Samuel Tan, a recent graduate pharmacist from Northeastern University, discussed common medications and side effects for seniors.

Pharmacist Samuel Tan discussed common medications at a senior breakfast seminar on July 27 at Boston Chinese Evangelical Church. (Image courtesy of South Cove Manor.)

Tan emphasized the importance of knowing how to take medications. He advised the seniors to ask their pharmacist how to take medications and to make sure to take them exactly as their doctor prescribed. They should know the time of the day to take medication, how often to take it in a day and whether to take it with food. It was important to understand drug interactions. Finally, individuals should never stop taking medications on their own.

After 75, about 80 percent of the population has high blood pressure, which if untreated can lead to heart attack or stroke. For high blood pressure, the most common medications are diuretics, RAAS, beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers. The most common side effects are frequent urination, dry cough dizziness and risk of falls.

Diabetes is caused by high blood sugar, when the body fails to produce insulin or is no longer responsive to insulin. Insulin is a protein that removes sugar from the blood and moves it into muscles. For diabetes type 1 and 2, the most common medications are metformin, glipizide and insulin. Common side effects are upset stomach, low blood sugar and weight gain.

For individuals undergoing psychotherapy and medication therapy, they may be prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac or Zoloft. They could also be prescribed selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as Cymbalta, Effexor or Pristiq. Indivuduals may be prescribed norepinephrineand dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) such as Wellbutrin. The most common side effects are nausea and vomiting, weight gain, diarrhea, sexual problems and insomnia.

Talk to your doctor about emotional problems. Psychotherapy and medication therapy can stabilize one’s mood, leading individuals to live a more healthy and balanced life.

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