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Seniors Should Watch for Drug Interactions When Taking Multiple Medications
Date:5/4/2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A recent study found that more than 80 percent of adults age 57 and older take at least one prescription drug a day and that about half of them regularly mix drugs with over-the-counter medications and supplements.

Interactions between prescription medications and over-the-counter medications are somewhat common and fairly mild as long as people are aware of them and taking appropriate steps to use the medication safely. Occasionally, problems arise. A recent study found that about 1 in 25 older adults may be experiencing a major drug interaction.

"To protect themselves from the harm of drug interactions make sure that anyone who is advising someone to take medications is fully aware of all medicines that person is taking and that includes prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements," says University of Michigan Geriatrics Center pharmacist Tami Remington.

Remington suggests that getting all prescription drugs filled at a single pharmacy allows the pharmacist to do a thorough drug interaction check each time a new one is filled.

Consulting a pharmacist periodically to ensure medications aren't interacting with other medications is also a good idea, she adds.

Pharmacists are also worried about over-the-counter drugs. Taking decongestants in allergy and flu formulas can raise blood pressure in some people. High blood pressure is common among older adults in the United States. Many medications can further raise blood pressure in people who already suffer and are on medication for it.

Remington warns that many older adults also take blood thinners, which are used for conditions like blood clots but also for preventing heart attacks and stroke. The strongest blood thinner is Warfarin. It's well-known that Warfarin interacts negatively with many medications. A drug in
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
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