Recently memories about whether or not to use pain medications came flooding back after reading a New York Times article Alternatives to Opioids for Pain Relief. The article described research that compares the effectiveness of opioid and non-opioid medicines. It made me remember just how easily power pain medications have been prescribed.
Physicians observed and analyzed the extent of pain relief for 411 emergency department patients, men and women who were given different medications to decrease their extreme pain. The individuals in the study rated their pain and then were randomly assigned different medications, including acetaminophen, combined with either ibuprofen or opioids. Two hours later, when the patients in the study were again asked to rate their pain, there was no statistical difference in pain reduction between the different medications. Continue reading →
Quite a few people, including many of us, our elder parents, and our children, use inhaled medication, often over many years. As a result asthma sufferers do not have to think much about their potential breathing difficulties. Until now as each person finished an inhaler, it went into the trash — the little metal pressurized aerosol canister as well as the plastic sheath.
Given the number of people nationwide (and I am not even considering worldwide consumption), these discarded inhalers must add up to massive piles of plastic mouthpieces and metal canisters filled with medication residue in landfills.
If you have old and unused medications stashed around your house — or if your elder parents have them — make a note of the 2012 Take-Back Initiative. It’s sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and coming right up on April 28th (that’s this Saturday). Participants can safely get rid of pills and bottles that are sitting around in medicine chests and kitchen cabinets.
In April 2010 As Our Parents Age posted information about how to dispose of medications that are expired or no longer used. I researched the topic because there were many medications in our kitchen cabinet, left after my husband’s mother died, and we needed to know how to get rid of them in a way that was environmentally safe.
If even one of your parents takes medications for a chronic condition, you know that it is not unusual for a switch or a dose adjustment. Changing medical conditions, drug interactions, and side effects in older adults require physicians to make changes, and each of our parents has experienced the need for a medication adjustment at one time or another. As a result of these changes a range of unused, expired or unexpired medications accumulates on parent’s shelf, and only rarely does a physician re-prescribe something.
What should we do with all of these old medications?