Assignment: Over-the-Counter Drugs

Assignment: Over-the-Counter Drugs

Assignment: Over-the-Counter Drugs


Week 4 discussion

Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes differ among patients across their life spans. For geriatric patients, alterations due to aging make them especially prone to adverse drug reactions. The various health issues that affect many geriatric patients further complicate this, as the need to treat these multiple health issues often results in polypharmacy. Although treatments are frequently drugs prescribed by the health care provider, many geriatric patients also take over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. While the provider sometimes recommends these OTC drugs, patients often select the drugs on their own. This makes patient education on pharmacology key when caring for geriatric patients. Many patients assume that if drugs are available over the counter, then they are safe to take. However, due to issues related to polypharmacy and how their aging bodies process drugs, OTC drugs may have serious implications for patients.

To prepare:

Review the American Geriatrics Society article and interactive media piece in this week’s Learning Resources.

Select one of the following over-the-counter drugs commonly used by geriatric patients:

Antacids or acid suppressants



Antimicrobial ointments

Antispasmodics for the bladder

Cough suppressants


Neutraceuticals (choose one; e.g., ginseng, St. John’s wart, etc.)

Pain medications (choose one; e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen, rub-on pain ointments/patches, etc.)

Supplements (choose one; e.g., calcium, iron, etc.)

Vaginal creams

Research the over-the-counter drug you selected. Visit a local pharmacy and explore the types/varieties of the drug that are available. Reflect on the ingredients in each type/variety, including additional active ingredients.

Consult with the pharmacist about the ingredients in each type/variety, including how to make safe and effective clinical decisions in relation to this drug. Discuss potential interactions in frail elders and precautions related to the drug based on Beers Criteria. If one is available, you may consult with a pharmacist at your practicum site as an alternative to visiting a pharmacy.

Consider ways to educate elders about the OTC drug you selected.

Week 5 discussion

Discussion: Fall-Risk Assessment

Fall risks are very high for the geriatric population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013), one out of every three adults aged 65 years and older falls each year. This can be attributed to factors such as changes in aging, other health issues, environment, and effects of prescribed drugs. When caring for geriatric patients, it is important to screen them for risks and perform fall-risk assessments. These assessment tools help to determine the level of risk for patients so that preventive measures can be taken. The implications of falls are very serious and range from fractures to mental health disorders and even death. In this Discussion, you explore risk assessment tools for use with patients at your practicum site.

To prepare:

Review the Kanis article in this week’s Learning Resources.

Consider a geriatric patient at your practicum site who is at risk for falls. Coordinate an opportunity to assess this patient with your Preceptor.

Note: When referring to your patient, make sure to use a pseudonym or other false form of identification. This is to ensure the privacy and protection of the patient.

In addition to the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX), select one of the following tools to assess this patient for falls:

Tinetti Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA)

Systems Approach

Berg Balance Scale

Elderly Mobility Scale

Timed Unsupported Stead Stand (TUSS)

Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT)

Hendrich II Fall Risk Model

Consider why you selected the assessment tool for this particular patient.

Assess the patient using the tool you selected under Preceptor guidance. Reflect on the assessment, including any issues with the patient and/or the effectiveness of the tool.

Think about strategies and interventions to reduce the risk of falls for frail elders.

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