In a study entitled, "Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Community-Dwelling Elderly," Chunliu Zhan, MD, PhD, and colleagues identified the following 11 drugs that should be avoided by people over the age of 65 years because the risk of adverse reactions greatly outweighs any benefit. (JAMA, 12/12/01).
The tranquilizer/hypnotic class of drugs called barbiturates (some brand names: Phenobarbital, Butisol, Luminal, Nembutal), which are often inappropriately prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders--numerous products combine a barbiturate with other drugs;
flurazepam (brand name: Dalmane), a tranquilizer;
meprobamate (brand names: Equanil, Miltown), for occasional anxiety;
pentazocine (some brand names: Talacen, Talwin), a strong painkiller, which is a controlled substance;
trimethobenzamide (brand name: Tigan), for nausea and vomiting;
belladonna alkaloids (some brand names: Anaspaz, Cantil) to relieve cramps or spasms of the stomach, intestines, and bladder;
dicyclomine (brand name: Bentyl), for irritable bowel syndrome;
hyoscyamine (brand names: Levsin, Levbid), for disorders of the gastrointestinal tract;
and propantheline (brand name: Pro-Banthine), which is often combined with other medications to treat ulcers.
In Worst Pills, Best Pills, which has a much longer list of drugs to be avoided, the authors explain why older adults are more likely to suffer adverse drug reactions than younger adults. Some examples include smaller body size, different body composition (less water, more fat), decreased ability of the kidneys to clear drugs out of the body and the decreased ability of the liver to process drugs.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Center for Medical Consumers, Inc.
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