Health Information and Tools > Health A-Z >  Medicine check-ups for older adults

Main Content

Medicine check-ups for older adults

Medicine check-ups for older adults

​​​​A medicine check-up is when your healthcare provider goes over all of your medicines with you.

As you get older, you may develop more than one health problem and take many medicines. These medicines may include prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, and vitamin, mineral, and other supplements. It’s important to have a medicine check-up because:

  • your body and brain can react differently to the effects of medicines as you get older
  • the risks of some medicines may be higher than the benefits
  • your medicines may treat side effects of other medicines
  • medicines taken together may cause unwanted side effects
  • taking many medicines can affect your quality of life
  • the cost of medicines can be high and hard to pay for

Safely lowering the amount of medicines you take may help prevent problems or make them less likely to affect you as often. These include:

  • falling
  • confusion and memory problems
  • weakness and fatigue
  • delirium
  • trouble having a bowel movement (constipation)
  • an upset stomach and loss of appetite
  • having trouble sleeping

If you take any of the following medicines, ask your healthcare provider to go over them with you:

  • depression, anxiety, or mood-related medicines, such as antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics
  • sleep medicines, such as benzodiazepines and sedatives
  • pain medicines, such as opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • diabetes medicines that lower blood sugar levels
  • heartburn medicines, such as proton pump inhibitors
  • blood pressure medicines
  • heart disease medicines, such as those that lower cholesterol levels
  • blood thinners
  • vitamins, minerals, and other supplements such as iron, magnesium, and lutein
  • medicines that prevent broken bones and fractures (bisphosphonates)

Do you need a medicine check-up?

It’s important to regularly talk to your healthcare provider and pharmacist about your medicines. Ask if you still need to take all of your medicines or if you can take a lower dose.

Current as of: March 5, 2020

Author: Seniors Health Strategic Clinical Network