Seniors More Susceptible to Adverse Side Effects from Prescription Medications

By December 14, 2011Uncategorized

Research is showing that elderly people are twice as likely to have to go to the emergency room because of adverse drug side effects as patients under the age of 65. One of the reasons for that is because older bodies cannot eliminate drugs with the same amount of ease as younger bodies. Another reason is because senior patients are more likely to take a variety of drugs at one time, which increases their chances of suffering from a risky side effect.

“If you take three medications that have sedation as a possible side effect, then the compounding effect may not be 1+1+1=3, but 3x3x3=27,” Todd Semla, an expert on drug treatment for older adults, told “Consumer Reports on Health.”

With anxiety and depression symptoms getting more and more attention these days, many older people are starting to take prescription medications like Paxil and Effexor. Research has shown these medications to be extremely dangerous on their own, but can be lethal when mixed with other drugs. Some of the harmful side effects that have been linked to antidepressant medications in seniors include aggressive behavior, suicidal thoughts and behavior, stomach upset, insomnia, and countless others.

A more recent study even discovered that when patients who are taking antidepressant medications like Paxil in combination with antipsychotic medications like Seroquel, have a higher risk of suffering from a sudden cardiac death (SCD). This Finnish study, which was published in the European Heart Journal, also showed that patients taking these drug combos who are already suffering from a cardiac event have an even higher risk of SCD than those not suffering from a cardiac event. The point here is that seniors are very susceptible to the worst side effects that medications cause than younger patients, and this is why it is more important than ever for doctors and drug companies to keep patients fully informed of adverse side effects linked to prescription drugs before giving them to older patients.