Seniors are often prescribed medications for various health ailments. Many elderly individuals also see a number of medical specialists that may prescribe medications along with their family doctor.
This can often result in medication-related side effects, due to one or more of the doctors not knowing about the other medications another doctor may be prescribing at the same time.
There Are a Few Red-Flag Medications That Seniors Should Be Wary of Taking
While many medications are therapeutic and can help certain problems, seniors should be extra cautious when prescribed the following potentially problematic medications.
- Sedatives & Tranquilizers or Sleep Aids
- Anti-Anxiety Medications like Ativan, Xanax & Valium – Avoid Benzodiazepines
- Anticholinergics – Used for Bladder Control, Itching, Nausea & Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids Ingredient
- Muscle Relaxers
- Pain Medication
- Advil and Tylenol – May Be an Ingredient in Other Medications Taken Causing the Daily Limit to Be Exceeded
Some other medications to be concerned with involve blood pressure medications, heart or circulation drugs including Warfarin, and others. Always ask your doctor about any drug interactions if prescribed these drugs.
What Could Happen if a Senior Takes the Above Listed Medications
As we age, our body systems change. This includes the rate of metabolism that our bodies expend to break down the food we eat and the medication that we take. Seniors are more prone to develop a slowing of digestion that could impact how medications get broken down and released into the blood supply.
Sedative, Tranquilizers & Sleep Aids
These drugs can have an opposite or exaggerated effect than what the drug is supposed to do. For instance, a sedating agent may work fine for a younger adult about to have minor surgery but will make an older patient more anxious and could even make them aggressive in some cases.
Anti-Anxiety Medications – Ativan, Xanax & Valium
These, too, can cause extreme mood swings and personality changes like aggression for an otherwise calm person.
These drugs are often found in OTC medications for colds, nausea, itching, and other ailments. These may have a reverse action or a stronger one if the person’s metabolism rate is off.
Muscle Relaxers – Flexeril, Robaxin
Muscle relaxers should be used with caution in the elderly. These can have a build-up type of effect when the patient becomes lethargic, confused, and may lose consciousness.
Pain medications often cause balance issues, puts the person at risk for falls and injuries and could slow heart rate and lower blood pressure too low, causing the person to faint.
Tylenol or Advil
Tylenol and Advil type drugs are considered safe as they are OTC medications. However, there is a daily limit on these drugs, and older persons may need a far lower dose. Another huge problem is that Tylenol and other drugs can be an ingredient in many other drugs, causing a serious overdose that could be missed.
Talk to your physician regarding the use of these drugs and others. Also, your pharmacist is a valuable resource for drug side effects and possible combination drug interactions. Learn more by contacting SBCP Home Care in Irvine.