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When Are Medications Harmful for a Senior to Take?

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on December 28, 2015

When providing Chandler home care for your senior loved one, you may discover he or she is taking a variety of medications. Without knowing all of the details, it can be difficult to determine when it is safe for each medication to be taken. Here are a few rare situations when a doctor might suggest your loved one avoid taking prescription medication. 

If a Severe Reaction Has Occurred

Before taking any prescription medication, a doctor should inform you and your loved one of any potential side effects. The doctor should also tell your loved one if it is safe to stop taking the medication if those side effects occur. Some of the side effects you should be wary of include a drop in your loved one’s heart rate, vomiting, and a loss of motor functions. 

When Preparing for Surgery

Seniors have a much higher risk of complications taking place during a surgery. Surgeons will typically give your loved one a comprehensive screening before any procedure to get a better idea about his or her general health and any medication he or she is taking. If general anesthesia or a sedative is going to be used, the doctor might suggest your loved one stop taking painkillers or any medication that lowers the heart rate.

If an Addiction Has Developed

Prescription medication addictions are common among seniors. Many older adults take a variety of medications without realizing just how much of an impact it is having on their bodies. If you have recently noticed any signs of addiction in your loved one, you should contact his or her doctor immediately to explore the options for detoxing or rehabilitation. 

When OTC Medication Is Already Being Taken

Over-the-counter (OTC) medication is generally harmless when it is taken by itself and at the correct dose, but it can be dangerous when mixed with prescription medication. This is because OTC medication must be filtered through an individual’s liver. Placing too much of a strain on the liver could result in organ failure and blood toxicity. Your loved one should be especially careful when taking over-the-counter NSAIDs, also known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

At Home Care Assistance, making sure your elderly loved one stays safe and healthy is our top priority. With the help of our part-time or 24-hour caregivers in Chandler, your loved one can receive medication reminders to ensure he or she is taking them safely and maintaining his or her health. Our caregivers can also provide transportation to medical appointments and assist with many other important tasks. For more information and to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call one of our experienced Care Managers at 480.448.6215 today.