Preferred Lifestyle Services - Care Management

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Refusing Medication in Fear of Side Effects

Judie Rappaport
June 24, 2014

Dear Judie, 


Dad (86) suffers chronic pain from multiple problems. When Dad’s pharmacist explained the medication his doctor prescribed might make him feel dizzy, Dad refused the medication. He’s fallen twice in the past and is afraid of falling again. Now what? 

- Sharon, Hobe Sound


Dear Sharon, 


First, congratulate Dad on his common sense—if you know a medication puts you at risk for serious injury (falls are the #1 reason for emergency admissions for seniors), your next step is to discuss the risk with your physician and ask for a different prescription. Chronic pain often leads to lack of sleep and emotional problems like depression or anxiety so it’s best to follow up as soon as possible, preferably with a second opinion from a physician specializing in pain management. Accompany Dad to be certain he accurately reports his pains and compliance with previous treatments. Did he take medications as prescribed? Was physical therapy part of his treatment? If he didn’t follow through, explain why. It’s important to choose a physician who makes Dad feel safe enough to be truthful. Remember to bring all his medications and medical records to help the physician see the full picture. You’ll find more chronic pain information at  



Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services

Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©


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