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Your Health

Some medications can be risky for seniors

Food labels worth reading, understanding

As you get older, your body changes in ways that can alter the effectiveness of medications and how they are broken down in the body, which can cause problems.

Some medications have been shown to have a higher risk of adverse effects in people age 65 or older. These include:

  • Glyburide (DiaBeta, Micronase) for treating diabetes
  • Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril, Amrix, Fexmid) for treating muscle spasms
  • Zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and zaleplon (Sonata) for treating insomnia
  • Nitrofurantoin (Furadantin, Macrodantin, Macrobid) for treating urinary tract infections
  • Oral and patch estrogen replacements.

What can you do?

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of the medication you are taking is considered a high-risk medication.
  • Learn about your medication. Know its side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, recommended dosage, what the drug is used for, what to do if you miss a dose, how the drug should be stored, and generic vs. brand names.
  • Report any side effects, concerns and adverse reactions to your doctor. Simply opening the discussion with your doctor about your daily routine can help you discover things you did not know before.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers brochures, articles, and other valuable resources for consumers, including:
Educational Resources: Ensuring Safe Use of Medicine at http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/ucm079529.htm

Tips for Seniors at http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/TipsforSeniors/default.htm.
Visit http://www.fda.gov/ or call 1-888-INFO-FDA for more information.