Medications and the Elderly

Friday, April 24, 2015

Many medications are available over the counter without a prescription. But, are all these medications safe? In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill shares information that may give you pause when purchasing these drugs.

Dr. Hill:

You may think that over-the-counter medications are always safe. But if you are over 65 and also taking prescriptions medications, this may not be the case.

Older adults often take over-the-counter medications to help with a variety of illnesses. These medicines can be very effective in relieving certain symptoms. On the other hand, the elderly are more prone to serious side effects.

These are some common side effects older people may have from non-prescription drugs.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, may cause an increased risk of kidney failure or stomach bleeding.

Decongestants can cause glaucoma and vision loss.

Antihistamines in cold and sinus drugs can cause drowsiness, confusion, blurred vision and difficulty emptying your bladder.

Excessive use of Tylenol can cause liver problems.

Many over-the-counter and herbal therapies interfere with your prescription medicines for blood pressure, seizures, heart failure, diabetes and depression.

Be sure to tell your physician all the over-the-counter medications you are using. Also consult with the pharmacist before purchasing non-prescription drugs.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.