Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Drugs older people should avoid

Past 50--let me assure you--your body begins to not be as reliable. You may get the occasional wibble-wobbles. Spicy food? You may regret the extra hot sauce.

And medications--those are a real problem...Older people tend to be prescribed more things--even things to help the side effects of other drugs.

Older people also tend to go along with their doctors and slam in every pill recommended.

Did you know pharmacists--who tend to chitchat with patients and get the skinny--have a black list of drugs older people should avoid?

Certain antibiotics, for example. Writing on the site NextAvenue, Patricia Corrigan details how the antibiotic doxycyline failed to stop a sinus infection, and another doctor prescribed levofloxacin (Levaquin). This drug is not recommended for those over 60--and it attacked her Achilles tendon, the pain awakening her in the night.

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (a former client of mine) is the only international processional society dedicated to improved health outcomes for oldies.

Here are some drugs ASCP isn't crazy about for older people:

--Bensodiazepines. This is Valium, Ativan, Xanax, and Librium. They increase confusion and risk of falling.

--Non-Benzodiazepines. These are insomnia drugs--Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta. Highly addictive and can cause sleepwalking, which in turn can be dangerous.

--Anticholinergics. Benadryl, Tylenol PM, and certain muscle relaxants. Confusion, constipation, dry mouth, blurry vision, or bloating. Cumulatively--can lead to dementia.

--Nonsteroidal anit-inflammatory drugs. Ibuprofen (Motrin),  naproxen (Aleve),  aspirin. These are tough on the kidneys and can cause stomach bleeds. For arthritis pain--Tylenol (also sparingly), physical therapy, acupuncture, swimming, or acupressure.

--Anti-psychotics. Too often these big drugs are prescribed not for significant psychosis, but for agitation or anxiety in older people. Not appropriate.

--Old drugs, Sometimes the older meds are still good, but barbiturates are rarely prescribed anymore--they are highly addictive.  You don't want to live in The Valley of  the Old Dolls.

Blood pressure meds can also lead to falls...remember those wibble-wobbles, I mentioned.

Also--watch out for ranitidine (Zantac) for heartburn. A normal dose may be 150 mg twice a day, but in an older person, the kidneys may not clear that amount.

No one should have to live with a problem caused by a drug--that is the ASCP way. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist.

I recommend taking all your pills to your doc once a year for a look-see.

I know this is drastic--but you might also want to read that info the pharmacist gives you--on side effects and dosage.

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