Drug-Drug Interactions in Elderly Patients
Common Drug Interactions
It’s no surprise that seniors can sometimes struggle when it comes to managing medication regimens. It’s not uncommon for care providers to discover there is confusion surrounding when and how to take medications, as well as any potential interactions.
It’s important to note that as someone ages, their ability to absorb and filter prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs slows. This means that drugs they may have taken when younger cause different side effects as they age. Plus, when mixing several different types of drugs, the outcomes can present physical concerns as well.
Understanding Drug Interactions in the Elderly
Drug-drug interactions are more common than one may think. These interactions occur any time the effect of one drug is altered by the presence of another drug in the body. Typically, when a doctor is prescribing a medication, there is a complex process taking place. This includes deciding that a drug is needed (on a short or long-term basis), choosing the right one, determining a dosage, and setting a schedule for taking each dose.
Some examples of common medication for seniors include:
- Prescription medications
- Herbal supplements
- Dietary supplements
- Vitamins and minerals
- Over-the-counter medications
Because of the fact that seniors are more likely to be taking multiple medications at the same time, they are particularly vulnerable to drug-drug interactions. The most common types of drug-drug interactions occur when:
- One medication causes increased or decreased effectiveness of another
- Two similar medications taken together produce a greater effect than expected
- Two medications taken together cause new and potentially life-threatening interactions
Avoiding Common Drug Interactions in Seniors
The very best way to maintain a healthy medication regimen is to keep an active list of current prescription medications and any additional over-the-counter or supplements being used. This way, at doctor visits or wellness check-ups, it’s easy to discuss the current regimen and make adjustments as needed. With any medication, it’s vital to only take prescriptions as specifically explained by a medical professional.
Health and Wellness Support for Seniors at McGregor PACE
Navigating health and wellness is a challenge for the elderly. As regimens change and routines are shifted, it can be difficult to manage alone. If you are 55 or older, learn if the services we offer at McGregor PACE are right for you.