pill bottles

What’s happenin’ Boomers!

Are you on drugs?

More than 40% of people over age 65 take 5 or more prescription drugs or over the counter medications daily. Each year nearly one third experience a serious adverse side effect like a bone breaking fall, disorientation, inability to urinate, even heart failure. (Jane E. Brody, New York Times article, April 16, 2012) For example, maybe you are taking prescription medications for high blood pressure, low thyroid, and anxiety. You don’t sleep well so you take an over the counter sleeping aid. Perhaps you get a little constipated from time to time, so you take an over the counter laxative. What about that Arthritis pain? Better take some Aleve. There’s six different meds!

106 thousand deaths a year due to prescription medications.

If you are seeing multiple doctors for multiple conditions and one prescribes a drug that interacts badly with one you’re taking that is prescribed by another doctor, you could be headed for big trouble. It’s your responsibility to let each doctor know what another is prescribing. Make sure you are keeping track of what meds you’re taking, for what condition and be sure to tell your doctors. In addition, if you begin self medicating with over the counter medications, and even herbal supplements or vitamins, tell your doctors.

One might think that Acetaminophen, (Tylenol) is very safe, after all you can buy it in the grocery store. Not so! If taken in more than the normal dose, it can cause upset stomach, convulsions, coma, and even death.  Acetaminophen overdose is one of the most common poisonings world wide. (MedLine Plus)

Are prescription drugs even safe?

Okay, prescription drugs have been tested and approved by the Federal Drug Administration, but how much trust do you want to put in the FDA? How many of those ads do you see on TV by some attorney that says, “If you’ve taken (what ever drug) and are experiencing, (what ever symptom), you may be eligible for compensation.”? The most recent that just floors me is the one about a certain Diabetes (Insulin) drug, that is causing bladder cancer. What?! The FDA seems to push these drugs through approval too quickly. For a more in depth article on the subject, read this article by Dr. Mercola (here).

Taking many different drugs at different times of the day can be confusing. Age related changes to our brain and body cause drugs and alcohol to effect us differently than when we were younger. Our liver and kidneys can’t break down and eliminate these substances as easily as they once did. Taking another dose too soon could cause real problems.

There’s gotta be a better way!

I am in no way suggesting that you should quit taking medications prescribed by your doctor(s). Just that you talk to your doctor. Ask  if all the drug are really necessary. Could one or more be replaced by diet? Exercise? A natural product? Research, ask questions, don’t be blindly led. Doctors really just want to help their patients. But their belief is embedded in traditional medical training, so they prescribe drugs. They are busy, they don’t have time to explore alternative approaches, it’s just easier to write a prescription.