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Consumer Reports: Medicines Older Adults May Want to Avoid

Posted Oct 10 2008 2:10pm

Consumer Reports recently published a list of drugs that have heightened risks for older adults, due to the fact that as kidneys age, they lose some ability to process drugs. Consumer Reports compiled a “list of medications that are best avoided by those 65 and older, as well as a list of alternative medications.” See below:

Medicines Older Adults May Want to Avoid

Adverse drug reactions that result in emergency room visits affect older Americans nearly twice as often as young people. One reason is that as the body ages, the kidneys’ ability to process medications declines. As a result, some drugs stick around longer in the body, and others can build up to unhealthy levels if multiple doses per day are required.

At the same time, millions of older Americans take five or more medications a day, which multiplies the risk of experiencing an adverse drug event.

Consumer Reports Health has published new information to help guide people in their drug selections. A list of medications that are best avoided by those 65 and older, as well as a list of alternative medications, is included.

For example, antihistamines Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine) and Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can cause confusion, sedation and the inability to fully empty the bladder (urine retention) in people over 65. Generic cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra) and loratadine (Claritin) are generally safer bets.

Another example is pain relievers. Aleve and Naprosyn (naproxen), Daypro (oxaprozin) and Feldene (piroxicam) can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney damage. Demerol (meperidine) can cause confusion and falls. Better and safer choices include Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen), Zostrix (capsaicin cream) and for severe pain, morphine.


Click here
for a complete list of drugs to avoid for older individuals.

Find more information at Consumer Report’s Best Buy Drugs about comparative effectiveness
and comparative cost for many of these medicines.

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