CRMC hosts prescription education event

Sharon Schuler Kreps
You’ve got to be responsible for your own medications in a certain way. I go on the internet a lot and look things up; you should know your own body. It’s your own responsibility.”
Peggy Bender


CULLMAN –Cullman Regional Medical Center hosted a brown bag lunch-and-learn event this week, where residents were encouraged to place all of their current medications into a brown bag (or any bag) and bring them with them to the event. Multiple pharmacists were on hand to meet with them and talk to them about their medications’ common uses, side effects and interactions with other medications. The event was intended for all drugs: prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, herbal medicines, vitamins and supplements.

“Our goal today is for all of you to understand your medications; what you are taking, why you are taking it and to answer any questions you may have about them,” said Jeff Stanley, CRMC chief operating officer. “We want you to understand why you are taking medications. Some of you may have multiple medications for the same medical conditions. I want to share a couple statistics with you that will help you put in perspective why medication safety is so important.

“Seniors ages 65 and over represent 13 percent of our population but 40 percent of the prescription drugs that are dispensed in the United States. On average, individuals age 65 to 69 take nearly 14 prescriptions per year and people age 80 to 84 take 18 prescriptions per year. That’s a lot to manage, a lot of prescriptions to keep track of.

“This is kind of an interesting statistic too, it says about 50 percent of drug use within the senior population is deemed unnecessary,” he continued. “So I think maybe we can help you find some things that you may be duplicating. Also, 36 percent of all adverse drug reactions involve elderly individuals, so folks coming and seeking medical advice or medical care because of a bad outcome with a medication in our senior population. There is a big number of seniors who suffer things like hip fractures related to medication use; being overly sedated or are sleepy from taking those medications. So hopefully that kind of puts things in perspective why we think it’s important that you sit and talk to us for a few minutes today about your medications.”  

Stanley is not only the COO at CRMC, he is also a pharmacist. He donated his time to sit at a table and talk to the people there about their medications. Other pharmacists that were there to help were Kristin Allen, a clinical pharmacist at CRMC, Jerrod Rice from Borden’s Pharmacy and Meagan Silvey, a fourth-year pharmacy student from Auburn who is currently doing rotations at Borden’s Pharmacy.

 “I recently started taking medicine, a blood thinner, something for my heart rate and blood pressure medicines due to atrial fibrillation,” said Robbye Ivie. “Before that I hardly ever took medicine. It’s been very difficult for me to remember to take it on time and do it the way it is supposed to be done. I also want to see what other pills I can take like vitamins or probiotics and that type of thing.”

“My name is Peggy Bender and I live in Cullman. I just recently lost a lot of weight and the doctor had me on two different blood pressure pills. He didn’t realize I didn’t need to be on two different ones after I lost 50 pounds. I brought it to his attention when I went to his office and he agreed and took me off of one.

“You have to be diligent in what you are taking; you have got to be aware all the time,” she continued. “Everything I have prescribed to me has been done by the same doctor, so I don’t have to be real cautious, but I can tell him anything. My doctor is in Warrior and I really trust him. But doctors are human and sometimes they slip up. You’ve got to be responsible for your own medications in a certain way. I go on the internet a lot and look things up; you should know your own body. It’s your own responsibility.”

For more information about CRMC’s educational programs, visit