Drug side effects can change as you get older. Sometimes, these changes are for the worse. You need to be aware of potential drug interactions and whether any two drugs you’re taking, actually clash with each other.
Overall, 17 percent of adults over age 65 are likely to have a harmful reaction to one or more of the medications they’re taking, according to the American Geriatric Society.
More than 33 percent of Americans over age 62 are now taking more than five prescription medications, according to a JAMA Internal Medicine study.
Taking so many different drugs can also have bad side effects. Here are some ways it happens.
Drug Side Effects: Antibiotics
Women over age 60 who take antibiotics at least for two months over a seven-year period are 32 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack. Antibiotics can change the metabolites in your blood stream, which in turn affects the heart. Don’t take antibiotics unless you really need it.
Drug Side Effects: Nonstreroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Research shows that most seniors over 65 take over-the-counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen. But, researchers also caution that use should be limited to no more than once or twice a month, maximum. These drugs increase the risk of bleeding, stomach ulcers, raise your blood pressure, affect your kidneys and increase your risk for heart failure. Stick with Tylenol and don’t take more than 6 of those per day.
Drug Side Effects: Sleeping Pills, Anti Anxiety Meds
Almost 33 percent of older American adults take sedatives. These include prescription sleeping pills such as Ambien and Lunesta and anti anxiety meds like Xanax and Valium.
Side effects for seniors are falls, dizziness, confusion and memory loss. Taking these meds more often than just occasionally, doubles your risk for dizziness, falls, confusion and memory problems.
It’s important to get your blood sugar under control if you have type 2 diabetes. Neglect increases your risk as you get older. But certain anti-diabetes drugs, need to be avoided, as they can lower your blood sugar levels.
Metaformin is the drug of choice to control diabetes, as well as losing weight and exercising. Most of the time this will help keep your blood sugar under control.