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New Survey Shows Seniors Struggle Under the Weight of Multiple Medication Use
Date:12/29/2009

-informed about medications is crucial for patient safety," said Dr. Eisenberg. "To reduce drug risks, patients should always know the names of the drugs they take, why they take them, and any drugs they should avoid to prevent potential side effects."

Costly Concerns

Multiple medication use is also taking its toll on the financial health of America's seniors. The ability to afford their drugs is the top concern among 40 percent of seniors taking five or more prescription medications daily, followed by their worry over drug side effects (23 percent) and interactions (17 percent). Among those enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan, 37 percent are most concerned about not being able to afford their medications, and almost half (49 percent) want to know how to delay or avoid falling into the donut hole or coverage gap - the phase in which the beneficiary is responsible for the full cost of their drugs.

The survey found 60 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have taken some steps to delay reaching the donut hole, such as using generic medications (76 percent) and asking for free samples from their doctors (39 percent). But just 27 percent use mail order to avoid the donut hole, despite the fact that on average, seniors surveyed estimated that using mail order saved them about $540 a year and 19 percent estimated they saved at least $1,000 annually.

"The Medicare prescription drug program has made a huge difference in making prescription drugs more affordable for seniors; but for those taking multiple medications, the costs can still be a major burden - especially if you end up in the donut hole," said Dr. Eisenberg. "It's essential that enrollees take advantage of cost-savings opportunities so they can afford the drugs they need to maintain their health."

Medco is launching an initiative to assist seniors and Medicare beneficiaries in better managing their medications and getting the most out of their Medica
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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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