Medications play a major part in our health care. They can prevent, control or cure numerous conditions. Is there a perfect pill, that is, one that is convenient, effective, inexpensive or “covered”, fast-acting, can be taken for just a short time, has a catchy name, and is free of side effects and interactions? Absolutely not!
All medications – be they prescription, over the counter, or “natural” – have potential side effects. Some are common, some are rare. Some may be transient, while others may not go away. Many can be anticipated, avoided or minimized. Side effects may be mild but a nuisance, while others are occasionally life threatening.
Seniors tend to be on more medications, for more medical conditions, and so they may be more susceptible to drug interactions and side effects, including the above-mentioned falls.
Sometimes a side effect can be mistaken for a new condition, especially if your doctor doesn’t know all the medications you’re taking. For example, the new blood pressure pill makes your ankles swell, so the doctor gives you a water pill which makes you pee. The next doctor now gives you an antibiotic for your alleged bladder infection, which results in an allergic reaction. Then you need something for the allergic reaction. This is called “cascading” so ask your doctor if your latest symptoms might actually be a drug side effect or interaction. It could save you a whole round of extra medications.
Here are some other tips to help minimize the risk of your pills:
There is much more to consider about your health, and we will touch on these in the future. For now, watch your step, and your pills!