Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The National Council on Aging and CVS/pharmacy Educate Georgia Seniors about Medication Management and Ways to Save Money on Prescription Drugs

/PRNewswire/ -- Eight out of ten older Americans have at least one chronic health problem, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. According to CVS/pharmacy, fifty percent of Medicare Part D participants take an average of eight or more prescriptions regularly. With increased use of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter treatments, comes increased risk of adverse drug interactions and increased costs.

To address this important issue, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and CVS/pharmacy are bringing the Pack Your Bag(TM) medication consultation program to the Atlanta region. The program encourages seniors to pack a bag with medications they use, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements such as vitamins for a comprehensive review in one-on-one consultations with a local CVS pharmacist. The program also includes a presentation by the pharmacist on improving health through medication compliance and advice on identifying ways to save money on medications.

A Pack Your Bag program is being held today at the Lou Walker Senior Center in Lithonia and will provide over 100 seniors with one-on-one medication consultations with CVS pharmacists. This event is just one of many Pack Your Bag events that will be taking place throughout Georgia in the coming months.

"The Lou Walker Senior Center has been participating in the Pack Your Bag program since its inception in 2008," said Darryl Blackwell, Project Monitor at the Lou Walker Senior Center. "Medication management is an important aspect of healthy aging. The Pack Your Bag program allows us to provide an important educational service to the seniors in our community."

Dr. Richard Wild, Chief Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) in Atlanta will also be in attendance at today's event. "Medication interactions are increasingly common for people over the age of 65, due this population's high number of prescriptions. Community-based medication management programs can have a positive effect on the health of seniors," said Dr. Wild. "We hope that many Georgia residents receive a comprehensive medication review by a pharmacist or other qualified provider at least annually."

In over 4,000 Pack Your Bag consultations since the program's inception last year, CVS pharmacists have found:

-- 7% of seniors were taking expired medications
-- 14% were not taking medications as prescribed
-- 10% were at risk for potential drug interactions
-- 15% had the opportunity to switch to money-saving generics

"It is important to review your medication regimen with your pharmacist on a regular basis, especially when filling a new prescription," said Mahesh Patel, R.Ph., Pharmacy Supervisor at CVS/pharmacy. "For older people who often see multiple doctors, the pharmacy is a central point of care where potential drug interactions can be averted. What's more, pharmacists are aware of the latest generic medications available and can suggest ways our patients can save money while maintaining good health. This is especially important in these economic times."

The Pack Your Bag program is available nationwide to senior centers located within five miles of a CVS/pharmacy store location. Seniors can also visit their local CVS for a personal consultation with a pharmacist. To find the CVS/pharmacy nearest you, call 1-800-SHOP-CVS or visit CVS.com.

Below is a list of upcoming Pack Your Bag events scheduled throughout Georgia:

Thursday, May 14th Bleckley County Senior Center, Cochran
HH Brigham Senior Center, Augusta
Wayne County Senior Center, Jesup

Tuesday, May 26th Habersham County Senior Center, Demorest

Monday, June 1st Dorothy C Benson Multi-Purpose Center, Sandy Springs

Thursday, June 4th Roswell Senior Center, Roswell

Tuesday, June 9th Chandler County Senior Center, Metter
West Citrus Community Center, Homosassa

Wednesday, June 10th Athens Community Council on Aging, Inc., Athens

Thursday, June 11th Lowndes County Senior Center, Valdosta

Tuesday, June 16th Branan Lodge, Blairsville
N. Cobb Neighborhood Center, Acworth
Wincliff Apartments, Gainesville

Wednesday, June 24th Marietta Neighborhood Center, Marietta

Thursday, June 25th Toombs County Senior Center, Vidalia

Monday, July 6th Senior Connections, Atlanta

Thursday, July 16th Smyrna Senior Center, Smyrna

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