What Older People Need to Know About Prescription Drug Risks
Via Consumer Reports:
When it comes to risks from prescription drugs, seniors face triple jeopardy. They’re more likely to take multiple meds and more susceptible to side effects due to physical changes that accompany aging. And they’re at a higher risk of drug interactions, partly because they tend to take more meds. In Consumer Reports’ recent survey, for example, 40 percent of people ages 65 and older took five drugs or more, compared with just 17 percent of those ages 45 to 55. Compounding the problem is that older people are less likely than younger ones to ask a doctor about drug safety. Barely half of the seniors in a recent Consumer Reports survey said they talked with their doctor about such concerns as drug side effects, but two-thirds of younger adults did. It’s not surprising, then, that older adults are twice as likely to suffer a side effect serious enough to require a trip to an ER, and seven times more likely to be hospitalized as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Geriatrics Society has identified dozens of medications that people 65 and older should almost always avoid because of the risk of serious side effects. They include the anti-anxiety drugs diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), and sleep drugs such as zolpidem (Ambien) and eszopiclone (Lunesta). For a complete list, go to https://dcri.org/beers-criteria-medication-list/.