Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Seniors Should Watch For Drug Interactions When Taking Multiple Medications

Date:
May 12, 2009
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
More than 80 percent of adults age 57 and older take at least one prescription drug a day and that about half of them regularly mix drugs with over-the-counter medications and supplements.

Taking decongestants in allergy and flu formulas can raise blood pressure in some people.
Credit: University of Michigan Health System

A recent study found that more than 80 percent of adults age 57 and older take at least one prescription drug a day and that about half of them regularly mix drugs with over-the-counter medications and supplements.

Related Articles


Interactions between prescription medications and over-the-counter medications are somewhat common and fairly mild as long as people are aware of them and taking appropriate steps to use the medication safely. Occasionally, problems arise. A recent study found that about 1 in 25 older adults may be experiencing a major drug interaction.

“To protect themselves from the harm of drug interactions make sure that anyone who is advising someone to take medications is fully aware of all medicines that person is taking and that includes prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements,” says University of Michigan Geriatrics Center pharmacist Tami Remington.

Remington suggests that getting all prescription drugs filled at a single pharmacy allows the pharmacist to do a thorough drug interaction check each time a new one is filled.

Consulting a pharmacist periodically to ensure medications aren’t interacting with other medications is also a good idea, she adds.

Pharmacists are also worried about over-the-counter drugs. Taking decongestants in allergy and flu formulas can raise blood pressure in some people. High blood pressure is common among older adults in the United States. Many medications can further raise blood pressure in people who already suffer and are on medication for it.

Remington warns that many older adults also take blood thinners, which are used for conditions like blood clots but also for preventing heart attacks and stroke. The strongest blood thinner is Warfarin. It’s well-known that Warfarin interacts negatively with many medications. A drug interaction with Warfarin can be extremely dangerous because people on the medication need thin blood although blood that’s too thin could result in bleeding complications.

Other drugs that interact with Warfarin can make a person’s blood too thick, increasing their risk of blood clots and stroke. Because of the high risks involved when taking Warfarin, anyone who is currently taking the medication should consult with a pharmacist or physician to ensure its safety.

The effect of medication on memory has also received wide attention. Medications in the valium family such as Ativan, Atarax, Restoril, Halcion and some of the sleeping pills like Ambien and Lunesta have a negative effect on people who are concerned about memory problems.

“These medications can prevent you from being able to form new memories and so even in small doses, particularly in older adults, they can make memory problems worse,” Remington says.

Over-the-counter or prescription medicines that Remington is most uncomfortable with “are the ones that have sleepy-type side effects to them such as medications for urinary incontinence to help avoid accidents.” Remington suggests limiting usage of these medications so that peoples daily lives and experience won’t be significantly changed due to medications.

Not all drug interactions are safe and require monitoring, says Remington.

“People need to protect themselves against serious drug interactions that happen and a physician or a pharmacist is a great place to receive help,” she says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Seniors Should Watch For Drug Interactions When Taking Multiple Medications." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090504211341.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2009, May 12). Seniors Should Watch For Drug Interactions When Taking Multiple Medications. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090504211341.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Seniors Should Watch For Drug Interactions When Taking Multiple Medications." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090504211341.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins