Senior adults have more compromised immune systems and bodily functions, making them more vulnerable to the effects of some medication. Although Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs are generally safe to use even at high doses, taking the wrong brands can still cause serious side effects.
Choosing the Right OTC Medicine for Pain Relief
As you go through your senior years, you will become more prone to different chronic illnesses. Even a simple cough and cold can have severe complications to their condition without immediate medical aid. Many simple and complex ailments usually involve some sort of pain as a symptom. Since it’s dangerous to rely on prescription medication too much for pain management, many senior adults opt for OTC medicine instead. However, not all brands are safe to use for seniors, especially if they have compromised organ systems.
If you want to purchase OTC medicine safe to use for older adults, here are three things you should consider:
Avoid NSAIDs When Possible
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen, have a range of potential side effects that are generally more harmful to older adults. This includes internal bleeding, decreased kidney function, or even the risk of heart failure. Although some doctors prescribe NSAID drugs to seniors, this is done with careful analysis of their condition. If you receive a prescription for NSAID drugs, ask if there are alternatives you can take instead. Otherwise, follow your physician’s orders to avoid the risk of experiencing harmful side effects.
Mind Your Doses
Although aspirin is the general standard for OTC medicine, geriatricians generally recommend acetaminophen for older adults as the safer option. Keep in mind that it’s essential to watch your dosage and avoid taking more than 3000 mg daily. This is because high doses of acetaminophen will lead to severe liver damage.
Seniors generally have weaker livers, with or without a history of alcohol abuse. This is because livers don’t completely recover from the filtering processes throughout a person’s lifetime. If you have chronic liver disease, you’re even more at risk of the side effects of taking too much pain medication. It’s a precaution you should also apply to other forms of medication like Nyquil, Percocet, Norco, and other drugs that contain acetaminophen.
Look for Alternatives
If you can manage your pain, it’s best to avoid taking medicine altogether. There are several non-drug options to serve as pain relief. Regular exercise can help with some forms of chronic pain. Besides staying physically active, you can also add herbal tea to your diet. Alternative treatments like acupuncture and physiotherapy help with pain relief, but it’s essential to consult your doctor before resorting to these solutions. Since not all patients are open to these methods, you should ask your doctor about these solutions for a more in-depth list of alternative treatments.
Contrary to popular belief, older adults don’t succumb to just one kind of severe illness. Many of them live long enough with just a wide assortment of general body complications. However, it’s important to know the difference between simple ailments to a collection of symptoms. This is why it’s necessary to consult your physician to identify which specific drug regimen you should maintain.
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