Senior citizens are getting the facts about their meds

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-A local organization is working hard to make sure senior citizens stay on top of their meds!

The Center on Aging held a class on blood thinners called, "The Case for Taking Blood Thinners" Tuesday afternoon.

In it, senior citizens learned such things as in what situations blood thinning medication should be taken, when it shouldn't, and certain side effects.

Marsha Crader, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at UAMS College of Pharmacy, spoke to attendees about Coumadin and the most important things they need to know, "Coumadin is a blood thinner many patients use. It's commonly used in the elderly population. It's used for a variety of conditions, but what it all boils down to is this drug is going to help a patient from getting a clot that could cause a life threatening condition."

Crader says the drug is a good one that's been around a long time, but it usually has a string of questions following it!

"I think this class is important because from the first presentation I gave on this medication, we realized that people have a lot of questions. It's something that's a drug that's been around for fifty years, but it's one that has a lot of interaction. And people have a lot of questions because they are concerned because it's a blood thinner. And they don't always have time to sit down and ask their physician their questions and sometimes the questions come up after they've started taking it."

Crader says her presentations on the drug cover a wide range of areas.

"We're gonna talk about a variety of issues related to Coumadin. Why a patient may be prescribed that medication, maybe a patient should talk to a doctor about why they don't need to take it anymore. When cognitive function goes and maybe people don't remember as well and they don't have family members to help. Sometimes that's not the best drug for them anymore and you need to take it correctly."

They also talked about the different foods, prescription and over the counter medications and herbal medications capable of interacting with the Coumadin.

Coumadin should always be taken exactly as prescribed by the doctor.

It's also recommended regular blood tests are taken to check on the person's response to the Coumadin.

If an individual experiences any of the following signs or symptoms they should notify their doctor right away: 1. pain, swelling or discomfort 2. headaches, dizziness or weakness 3. unusual bruising (bruising that pops up without knowing the cause) 4. nosebleeds 5. bleeding gums 6. bleeding cuts take a long time to stop 7. menstrual bleeding or vaginal bleeding that is heavier than normal 8. pink or brown urine 9. red or black stools 10. coughing up blood 11. vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grinds.

This is just a small amount of information Crader's presentations go over.

She says the response from senior citizens is good and growing.

"People want to know more about their medications and become more educated patients so they can use their medications properly."

Crader says the key is being informed and not being afraid to ask questions.

For more information about this class or any others offered by the Center on Aging for Northeast Arkansas, log onto their website.

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