P.E.I. doctor warns about dangers of overmedication

Dr. Roland Chiasson has a simple message for seniors: “If you don’t need drugs, don’t be taking any of them.”

Summerside seniors group hosted a session this week about prescription drugs

Seniors in Summerside, P.E.I., showed interest in Dr. Roland Chiasson's workshop on prescription drugs, and had lots of questions for him. (CBC)

Dr. Roland Chiasson has a simple message for seniors: "If you don't need drugs, don't be taking any of them."

Chiasson led a session on Tuesday, hosted by the East Prince Seniors Initiative in Summerside, P.E.I.

The group often hosts sessions with doctors on various topics, and director Gloria Schurman says the topic of prescription medications was a natural fit.

"We hear a lot of conversations at the office about prescription medications and different new drugs," said Schurman. "I thought that there'd be some interest, and there was."

Chaisson said the potential dangers of prescription drugs is an important topic to be informed about, particularly for seniors, since they often have more health issues.

Seniors often overprescribed: study

A study from the University of British Columbia this week revealed that seniors are often overprescribed medications, which can actually be harmful to their health. The study found that in 2013, 37 per cent of seniors filled prescriptions for medications that — according to the American Geriatrics Society — could be inappropriate for people over 65.

Chaisson said the issue of over-medication is an important one for seniors to be informed about.

He said one of the best ways for seniors to avoid taking too many medications is to eat healthily and exercise. Doing so can reduce health issues, therefore reducing the likelihood of being prescribed drugs.

Avoid unnecessary drugs

He emphasised that people should only take drugs that have been prescribed by a doctor, and try to avoid any others that may be unnecessary, or could cause reactions with other medications.

Chaisson also said "if a drug is recommended, [people need to] make sure that they know why the drug is being recommended, and what it is expected to do for them."

About 15 people showed up to Chaisson's session. He said their interest, and questions, were a positive sign.

"I think if there's a lesson for we health practitioners to take it's that more and more and more the general public is interested in why they're taking drugs."