Millions of American seniors wake up every morning to a pile of pills. Some meds may make you feel sick. Others are hard to swallow.
And let’s face it. Some days you want to throw those pills to the floor and stomp on them until they’re dust. But you don’t. You force them all down your throat instead. Because you believe you’re doing the right thing.
Doctor’s orders, after all.
But new research reveals a dark secret about some of today’s most common prescriptions. And it includes the drugs taken daily by America’s seniors.
The meds are NOT always necessary. And that means you could be at risk for serious side effects while getting zero rewards.
Inappropriate meds send risks soaring
Let’s start off with a couple of simple truths. Two things that every doctor should keep in mind whenever they pull out the prescription pad.
First, the more meds you take, the more likely it is you’ll suffer from serious and lasting side effects. These can include fatigue, falls, functional decline, cognitive struggles, and more. And sometimes, those drug-related issues far outweigh any potential benefit to taking a drug.
Second, the more meds you take, the more likely it is that you’ll be on something you don’t need, no longer need, or never should’ve been given in the first place. And with all those pills, some prescriptions are far more likely to be redundant or in conflict with other meds you’re taking.
The new analysis closely analyzed 63 studies on seniors taking one or more drugs that were potentially inappropriate. And they found a long list of horrors.
Taking a drug you likely don’t need – especially when you’re also on other medications – can raise your odds of…
- hospital admission by up to 91 percent
- functional decline by 60 percent
- adverse drug reactions by 26 percent
Two of the studies in the analysis also looked at the risk of falling. Both found a link to these potentially inappropriate prescriptions.
These aren’t just numbers we’re talking about here. These are people we know and love, hurt by their so-called care. And it could even be happening to you right now.
Spot the culprits with the “brown bag” method
If you’re on multiple meds, don’t assume any problems you’re having are due to aging or disease. They could be caused by the drugs. And you may be the victim of what I call self-refilling prophecies.
That’s when you get prescribed a medication, and it comes with a bunch of automatic refills. These days you often even get a computerized call from your pharmacy asking you to press a number to confirm your new bottle every month.
You may have needed the meds when they were first prescribed. But you very well may NOT need them any longer.
The new study narrowed the list down to the four most common culprits:
But the truth is ANY medication could end up being inappropriate depending on your needs, risks, and history. This is why I always recommend you go over them with your doctor or pharmacist at least once a year.
It’s called a “brown bag checkup” because you literally dump ALL of your medications into a bag and take them with you to your appointment. You then ask what each one does, why you need it, and what the alternatives are.
In many cases, these routine meetings reveal folks are taking drugs they don’t need. Or meds they may have needed once upon a time but don’t anymore are spotted.
But don’t stop there. Making it a habit to ask questions whenever a new medication is being prescribed could help you avoid being placed on an unnecessary drug, to begin with. In fact, I have a few suggestions right here.