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The Dangers of Wrongful Medications Among Senior Citizens

Prescription PillsAs we grow old we are faced with an increasing number of medical conditions that require the swift and accurate intervention of trained medical practitioners. As a result of the increased need for medication, it is not entirely uncommon for seniors to be overmedicated or to receive the wrong medication for a specific ailment. Due to the dangers associated with wrongful medications, the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging suggests that seniors older than 65 steer clear of a number of medications, including the following, as well as educate themselves as to where they can seek assistance should they suspect that they have been wrongfully treated and medicated.

Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

NSAIDS such as piroxicam are prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain but can, unfortunately, increase the prevalence of indigestion and ulcers as well as raise blood pressure, negatively affect your kidneys and worsen heart conditions. If there is no alternative to a NSAID, request one that is shorter-acting and take care not to take it in conjunction with aspirin, dipyridamole and ticlopidine as it can increase the risk of internal bleeding.  If you have a history of ulcers, it is recommended that you take something with your NSAID that will protect your stomach from the harsh active ingredients that can irritate your stomach lining.

Anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills

Any anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax and Valium as well as medication to help you sleep can be extremely dangerous to seniors. Not only can these medications cause severe confusion which can be extremely traumatizing, but it can also increase the risk of potentially-fatal slips and falls. If your doctor wants to prescribe a sleeping pill or relaxant to you it is well within your rights to request a natural remedy where possible or, alternatively, one with the fewest side-effects.

Other treatments to be aware of

Apart from anti-inflammatories and sleeping pills, there are a number of other medications that can also be detrimental to seniors. Anemia is very common amongst seniors with more than 16% of women and 17.5% of men living with it, according to the Journal of Hematology. While oral treatment is often prescribed, a medical practitioner might prescribe IV treatments or a blood transfusion to a patient with anemia instead. Although many individuals may benefit from such treatment, there are also those that can have a very adverse effect to it. Before you consent to any IV treatments for your anemia, be sure to read more about HPP, a very unfortunate side effect linked to some iron infusions.

Where to find help

The Administration on Aging provides superb resources to seniors who need to know their legal rights if they believe they are being treated unfairly.  The AoA boasts a very informative and user-friendly website that lists an array of usual resources and services pertaining to health insurance counseling, legal assistance, protection from abuse, and assistance with long-term health requirements.  If you cannot find what you need on their website you can contact their call center where a trained and compassionate representative will assist you with your concerns. Alternatively, any concerns regarding possible misconduct and wrongful diagnoses as well as incorrect treatment can be reported to your local State Department of Health Services.

Yes, aging can be a rewarding privilege, however it also can feel somewhat cumbersome at times, especially when we become reliant on a multitude of medications. Luckily help is within reach, ensuring that any wrongdoings can be rectified before too much agony has been caused by the risk of taking dangerous medications.


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