Many medications can have adverse effects on elderly patients. While these drugs are relatively predictable in younger populations, those 65 and older can experience different or more intense reactions and side effects. Another contributing factor to adverse drug reactions (ADR) is the number of different medications that are often prescribed in combination to the elderly.
While some drugs produce adverse drug effects on their own, some medications produce contraindication when taken with other drugs. Contraindication is a health factor that renders a specific treatment, medication, or procedure inadvisable. While contraindication on its own sounds fairly basic—people with allergic reactions to certain drugs shouldn’t take those drugs and people with certain medical conditions can’t have certain treatments that put them at risk—not many people are aware that contraindication often occurs unnoticed in the elderly until irreparable harm has been done.
Elderly individuals make up about 12% of the nation’s population, and yet they consume 32% of medications prescribed in America (National Center for Biotechnology Information). Doctors often prescribe many drugs to individuals over 65 in order to treat the ailments that come with growing older as well as any preexisting conditions. However, doctors can sometimes prescribe overlapping medications that perform the same tasks, medications that interact with each other, or medications not suited for those over 65 without knowing it. This can even be the case when individuals take over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. More