Drug side effects can change your health status as you age. Medications you have taken earlier in your life with no issues may suddenly cause you problems as you enter your senior years.
Your metabolism changes a lot as part of the normal aging process. Your metabolism slows, your kidneys are less efficient, and your gastrointestinal system works more slowly. As a result, drugs you’ve taken when you were younger with no issues, may now give you problems.
For example, 16 percent of seniors aged 65+ are likely to have side effects from medications they are taking, according to the American Geriatric Society (AGA). This is a serious issue when you consider that in this age group, about 35 percent take more than 5 medicines on a steady basis.
Here are some side effects you should be aware of. Talk to your doctor if you are having issues.
Drug Side Effects: Antibiotics
Women over age 60 who take antibiotics as little as two months over a seven-year period, are 32 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke.
If you need it, take it. But, also be aware that 25 percent of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe hem , because the patient asks for it. Antibiotics don’t work on viruses.
Drug Side Effects: Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can increase the risk of bleeding stomach ulcers. They can also raise blood pressure in seniors, affect the kidneys, and make an existing heart issue worse.
If you have an issue that requires an anti-inflammatory, use Tylenol. Don’t take more than 6 pills a day. If your condition doesn’t improve after three days, call your doctor.
Drug Side Effects: Sleeping Pills, Anti-Anxiety Meds
Thirty-five percent of seniors aged 65+ take anti-anxiety pills. These include Xanax and Valium. Sleeping pill prescriptions include Ambien and Lunesta. These drugs carry serious side effects for seniors such as dizziness, falls, confusion and memory problems. Falling down by senior citizens can result in severe injuries and even death.
To prevent addiction, consider cognition-behavioral therapy (CBT). It focuses on changing such as those that disrupt sleep.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) now recommends CBT over sleep drugs for chronic insomnia. CBT requires only six one-hour sessions and is often covered by insurance.
Night time cold medications that contain the antihistamines diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine, can cause symptoms such as confusion, blurred vision, constipation, and trouble urinating.
Moreover, long-term use may also raise your risk of dementia. This is because these medicines block the acetylcholine, a neuro-transmitter in the brain linked to learning and memory.
An alternative to antihistamine pills are allergy shots. Seniors, aged 65+ who took allergy injections for 3 years, were able to reduce their antihistamine pills by 64 percent.
Certain anti-diabetes drugs such as Diabeta, Micronase and Diabinese, cause dangerously low blood sugar. Instead take metformin.