I was reading an interesting Consumer Reports article about what older adults need to know about the risks of prescription drugs. I have some knowledge about pharmaceuticals but am always thirsty for more understanding of the impact on our society. I explore some basic ideas on how you can be an informed consumer not only for yourself and as well for loved ones.
When it comes to risks of prescription drugs, for age 65 and older adults, face peril. Those individuals are more likely to take oodles of medications and as a result they are more susceptible to side effects largely because of the changing anatomy and physiology of his or her body. If that was not enough, they are more susceptible to drug interactions because of the frequency of medications. In a Consumer Reports survey, 40 percent of people age 65 and older take five or more drugs compared to 17 percent of those age 45 to 55. The study addressed some alarming statistics about half of all seniors in this survey said they talked about such concerns of drug side effects but two-thirds of the other age group discussed and into more detail with his or her doctor. In addition to all the risks of prescriptions, older adults are more likely than younger individuals to ask about drug information and safety.
It is not surprising that older adults are twice as likely to suffer a serious side effect enough to result in a trip to the ER. According to the Centers of Disease and Control and Prevention, those adults are seven times more likely to become hospitalized as a result. To help reduce those risks, a person should ask his or her physician questions. The foremost question that should be percolating in everyone’s head; is this drug safe for someone my age?
The American geriatric Society has identified dozens of medications that people 65 and older should almost always avoid because of the side effects. They include the anti-anxiety drugs such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax). Some sleep medications such as zolpidem (Ambien) eszopiclone (Lunesta). If you want to find out more visit: https://dcri.org/beers-criteria-medication-list/. Make sure you read the page and click on, “View the 2012 PDF here, along with the rationale for why the medications might be appropriate and strengthen the recommendation based on available research.“
Almost all older persons are more susceptible to medication, a lower dose may be as effective and pose less of a risk. For example 200,000 patients aged 70 and older on levothyroxine (Synthroid) to treat an underactive thyroid found that those taking lower doses were two to three times less likely to suffer a fracture, one of the drug’s known side effects. Experts say that a lower dose of a drug can work just as well for older patients. As a person’s body changes so may be the benefit of a medication. For example there’s little evidence that cholesterol lowering statins reduce a risk of heart problems tools.
In this paper you reviewed some startling statistics on what medications may affect a person’s body as age progresses in one’s lifetime. Many medical professionals would agree that adults need to start taking an interest in in one’s own health to become an effective consumer. In turn, as a person reaches his or her mid-20s; should they take a very keen interest in one’s own health and medications. It makes perfect sense to have an honest dialogue with her doctor about how your age and overall health effects specific medications.
What do you think? Do you know or see anyone that seems to be popping pills left and right? Why do you think this is the case? Connect with me…