August 2, 2011

August 2, 2011
9 Types of Medication You Should Use With Caution

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It is another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Well, it looks like our elected officials in Washington, DC have finally come to their senses and our country will be extending our national debt limit right before we default on our debt. So now at least senior citizens and people on disability will get their social security checks.

But what about all the medicines people with HIV have to take? And what about those of us who are long term survivors or senior citizens? What do these medications do to us? For the next couple of days, I will be blogging about this issue.

As you grow older (or have been living with the HIV virus for a length of time), you are more likely to develop long term health conditions that require taking multiple medications. You are also more sensitive to many common medications, including over the counter (OTC) drugs. As a result, it is not uncommon for older adults and people with HIV to be overmedicated and to experience adverse reactions to the ever lengthening list of meds they take.

To lower the chances of overmedication and dangerous drug reactions, the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging recommends that people age 65 and over be cautious about using the following types of drugs:

Ask Questions

A person's age can impact the effectiveness and side effects of the medications he or she takes.

A person's age can impact the effectiveness and side effects of the medications he or she takes.

When prescribed a new medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist these important questions:

When and how should I take the new drug?
What is the purpose of the medication?
What should I do if I miss a dose?
Will the drug interact with other medications, vitamins or supplements I am taking?
Is a generic or lower-cost brand name medication available?
What side effects, reactions or warning signs should I watch for?

Important: If you are taking any of these medications, talk to your doctor or health care provider before stopping their use.

1. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Be cautious of: long lasting NSAIDS such as piroxicam (sold under the brand name Feldene) and indomethacin (Indocin).

The concern: NSAIDs are used to reduce pain and inflammation, but in older adults these medications can increase the risk of indigestion, ulcers and bleeding in the stomach or colon; they can also increase blood pressure, affect your kidneys and make heart failure worse. If NSAIDS are needed, better choices include the shorter-acting ibuprofen (Motrin) and salsalate (Disalcid).

Because of the increased risk of bleeding, do not use NSAIDs together with aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dabigatran (Pradaxa), dipyridamole (Persantine), prasugrel (Effient), ticlopidine (Ticlid) or warfarin (Coumadin).

If you take NSAIDs regularly and have a history of ulcers, or are 75 years of age or older, you may need to protect your stomach against bleeding with a prescription medication such as misoprostol (Cytotec) or a proton pump inhibitor such as omeprazole (Prilosec).

Join me tomorrow as I continue blogging on this subject.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab