Mind Your Meds: Timing is Everything!

What percentage of hospitalizations do you think are caused by medication issues:

10% maybe 25%? Believe it or not 40%! That's almost half of all hospitalizations which could potentially be avoided! Let's look at just a couple of common pitfalls.

Generic Versus Name Brand: Lynda has a history of high blood pressure and her doctor prescribed metoprolol 50 mg twice daily. She went into the hospital for gall bladder surgery and was discharged home with a prescription for Lopressor 50 mg twice daily. Upon returning home, she resumed her metoprolol dose and began taking Lopressor as well.

What she did not realize is that metoprolol is the generic version of Lopressor which means she was suddenly taking a double dose of her blood pressure medication. She was back in the hospital only days later because of a fall due to low blood pressure.

Solution: Anytime a new medication is prescribed be sure to inform your provider of ALL medications you are currently taking and make sure there are no conflicts or overlapping meds. Don't forget to mention over the counter meds and vitamins too!

Timing: If a medication is prescribed more than once per day, the amount of time between doses is very important. Upon returning home from the hospital, the second time, Lynda was now only taking metoprolol twice daily so she thought she was on the right track. She would take her second dose with her supper at 5:00. Her next dose would not be until she woke up the next morning around 8:00. This meant that there were 15 hours between doses! It is no surprise that he was waking up each morning with a headache and high blood pressure. After a particularly stressful morning, she decided she would go to the emergency room.

Solution: Make sure to space your medications as evenly apart as possible so there are not big gaps between doses. By simply moving her last dose to bedtime instead of with supper, Lynda was able to wake up feeling great!

In Lynda's case, the cost of simple medication errors really added up when you calculate the stress anxiety and financial impact of two avoidable hospitalizations.

If you're lucky enough to have a TeleHealth Coach through CareCycle Solutions, you know that these are exactly the kinds of clues we are watching for 24 hours a day. Are you overwhelmed with Minding Your Meds? We Have a Solution. Go to www.CareCycle Solutions.net and print the "Mind Your Meds" Hints for Health sheet on Medication Management.

30-Day Hospitalization Rate 6.7%.
64% lower than the national average.