The Caregiver Forum is filled with people coming together to share valuable information. We’ve compiled experienced caregivers’ suggestions for working with a senior’s doctor or pharmacist to solve medication-related problems, such as non-compliance, bothersome side effects, adverse drug interactions and difficulty swallowing pills.

Troubleshooting Medication Issues with a Doctor or Pharmacist

“See if there are specific medicines that your loved one is refusing. Are the pills huge? Could they be refusing because of side effects? My mom has one pill that is big, and she hates taking it. I found out that it we can get it in a smaller dose, but this will require more pills. Discuss the issue with your loved one’s doctor and pharmacist to see if there is a better way to dispense or change medications.” –MaryLou88

“At least once a year, I would have a good pharmacist look at all the medication your loved one is taking and see if they are all necessary and/or possibly interacting with each other. The medication could have side effects that are worse than the condition they’re for.” –partsmom

“When my mom was having problems getting the bigger pills down, we talked to the doctor and stopped those medications.” –Rosebush

“There may be flavor options for liquid medicines. Pharmacists can use a product called FLAVORx to make them taste better.” –SeniorService

“Speak to your pharmacist. They know how different drugs are packaged, alternatives, generics, liquids, if pills can be crushed, dosages, etc. Physicians do not always know these things.” –Dinkiedink

“You can get all drugs in liquid form. My wife’s nine pills cost $350/month copay. The same drugs in liquid form cost $270/month. (These are not just pills crushed up, though.) Ask your doctor for prescriptions for liquid drugs and find a local pharmacy that can provide them. They give you a little syringe to measure the dosage. Some of them may need to be refrigerated. Before, giving drugs five times a day was a nightmare for me and my wife, but now it’s enjoyable.” –warren631

“Sometimes the senior’s instincts are correct. Check it all out on the internet to make sure your loved one even needs each medication. Last night we finally got a list of our mom’s medications and learned she is taking 28 of them! Some are for issues she no longer has. Others are duplicates. We are very glad we listened to her complaints and refusals. Doctors seem to solve everything by writing yet another prescription.” –January

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“Has anyone considered the fact that when someone doesn’t want to take a certain medication it is because they hate the side effects from that medication? All medications have fillers. Depending on the fillers being used, a senior could be hypersensitive to them, which could cause a variety of different side effects.” –freqflyer

“Your loved one is the owner of their body and it’s their choice what to put into it. No one else owns it or is the authority on it. If your loved one is thinking clearly and refusing to take a medication, then maybe you should ask them why. Maybe the pills give them nasty side effects, or perhaps they feel they are unnecessary. Maybe your loved one would like to hear about alternatives to pharmaceuticals. Many elderly people are on a cocktail of pills. Maybe your loved one found out the truth about the effects of these pills and has legitimate concerns. Ask!” –Ibeenscammed

“Work with the doctor to get your loved one’s prescriptions down to the ‘vital few.’ The doctor can place a ‘discontinue’ order for those meds that are no longer necessary to take.” –JavaJoy