Drug Side Effects In The Elderly And How To Prevent Them

Although only accounting for more than 10% of the world's total population, the elderly use the same amount of medicine as young people.
The reason is that the elderly often suffer from many diseases simultaneously and have many health problems due to the aging process, so many drugs have to be used to solve these problems, many people have to use up to 7 -10 different medicines every day.
Along with the increase in the number of elderly people on earth, the number of drugs prescribed to treat the elderly has also tended to increase significantly in recent years due to the longer life span of people. Chronic illness also accumulates more and more with age.
In addition, the strong development of medicine has produced a lot of new drugs used in the treatment of chronic diseases common in the elderly such as dyslipidemia, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease

Opinions on the treatment of physicians in many parts of the world also change, most of the chronic diseases in the elderly are treated in an active way instead of "living" with the disease as before

Why do elderly people take medicine often and have side effects?
The use of multiple drugs at the same time can cause patients to face many problems caused by the drug such as drug side effects, interactions between drugs and drug toxicity.

Drug Side Effects In The Elderly And How To Prevent Them

In the elderly, these problems occur more often and are more serious than in young people.
The reasons for the increase in the frequency of drug-related side effects in the elderly are attributed to changes in drug metabolism and elimination, reduced compensatory activity of age-related organ systems, and the effects. of many comorbidities that prolong the duration of action, increase the risk of intoxication, increase the frequency of side effects and change the therapeutic effect of the drug.
Some recent studies show that the frequency of drug-related side effects in the age group 70-79 is 7 times higher than in the age group 20-29, the rate of hospitalization due to drug side effects in the elderly up to 17% compared to 5% in the general community.
Besides the frequency, the degree of drug-related side effects in the elderly is often more severe than in young people, due to the reduced ability of the body to compensate and the simultaneous use of many drugs. increases the risk of dangerous clinical drug interactions.
However, the common side effects caused by drugs in the elderly are not only due to the impact of age, but also due to subjective factors in the prescription and use of drugs

An example is the drug-related side effects in the elderly that are often quite vague and difficult to recognize, such as increased confusion, drowsiness, constipation, difficulty urinating, loss of appetite, fatigue .

Drug Side Effects In The Elderly And How To Prevent Them

These are also common problems in the elderly, so there are many cases where doctors mistake and handle side effects caused by this drug by giving another medicine and causing the patient to suffer. Add new side effects.
What medications cause side effects in the elderly?
Some drugs or drugs that are classified as high risk of causing side effects in the elderly, most often are medicines to treat arrhythmia (amiodarone, disopyramide), old-generation antihistamines (doxepin) , chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine, promethazine ...), anticholinergics (atropine), antidepressants (amitriptyline, fluoxetine), neuroleptics (thioridazine, mesoridazine), barbiturate (except phenobarbital), benzodiazepine group (flurazepam) , diazepam, lorazepam), digoxin, analgesic anti-inflammatory drugs (indomethacine, ketorolac, naproxen, meloxicam), antihypertensive drugs (nifedipine, methyldopa, guanethidine), muscle relaxants (orphenadrine, methocarbamol, carisoprodol, chlorzoxazone, , oxybutynin), laxatives or laxatives (bisacodyl, cascara sagrada) and chlorpropamide.

Drug Side Effects In The Elderly And How To Prevent Them

What to do to limit side effects caused by drugs in the elderly?
To minimize drug-related side effects in the elderly, caution should be exercised when using high-risk drugs that cause these side effects, carefully considering the benefits and risks, taking the lowest dose available. or be replaced with less toxic drugs if the therapeutic effect and financial conditions are acceptable.
In addition, it is necessary to review the patient's regimen periodically every 6-12 months and when there is any change in the drug, closely monitor the occurrence of side effects in large patients. age of using psychotropic drugs or those who have taken more than 4 drugs, minimize the amount of medication prescribed for each patient and increase the use of non-pharmacological treatments, regularly evaluate re-evaluate renal and hepatic function to make appropriate dose adjustments, consider combination therapy or once daily doses to improve patient adherence under financially viable conditions..

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