Not everyone reacts to medicine in the same way. Your friend may take a medicine that works well for them, but it may not work for you at all, even if you have the same medical condition. It’s good to know how drugs may affect your body and about any negative side effects that may happen so you can be on the lookout. Some medicines are called “high-risk” because they can cause harmful side effects including falls, confusion, drowsiness, and weakness.
Everyone reacts to medication differently. As people get older, their bodies respond differently to everything including food, medication and supplements. According to clinical guidelines, certain medicines called high-risk medications may not be suitable for people 65 and older. They can cause harmful effects including falls, confusion, sleepiness, drowsiness and weakness. Talk with your doctor to learn about high-risk medications. They may not produce noticeable side effects, but they can produce potential problems. High-risk medications include Amitriptyline, Carisoprodol, Cyclobenzaprine, Metaxalone, Methocarbamol, Digoxin, Estrogen, Glyburide, Zolpidem, Zaleplon and Eszopiclone. Please ask about safer alternatives and discuss those options with your doctor before stopping any medication. The more you know, the more you can be an active participant in your healthcare. At Humana, we strive to be your lifetime partner in reaching good health. Humana: live life fully.
A high-risk medicine is one that may cause serious health problems if taken improperly, or taken with another drug or food item that it may interact with. Some examples include:
Taking multiple medicines together may affect how they work and may even be dangerous.
As you age, your body begins to handle medicine differently than it used to. If you are age 65 or older, you should take special care when taking your medicine, even though you may feel perfectly healthy. Some changes people experience when they age include:
In some cases, it may take your kidneys and liver more time to process medicines, and some medicines may stay in your body longer. This may cause your medicine to be stronger or weaker than it has been in the past, and you may be more likely to experience side effects. You may also experience side effects from taking multiple medications that may interact together in a way that is harmful to your body. You can work to make sure that the medicines you are taking are safe by learning more about high-risk medicines and talking to your doctor about your treatment and the medicines you take.
If your doctor has prescribed you a high-risk medicine, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it, it just means that you should take care when using it and discuss any concerns with your doctor. Some things to remember:
It’s always important to talk to your doctor first regarding any high-risk medicines you might be taking. Simple cold medicines or even herbs may interact poorly with high-risk medicines. Some questions you may want to ask your doctor include:
Read more about managing medications.
Humana offers prescription tools that may help you save on your medications.
Review this list (link opens in new window) to see if you are currently taking a high-risk medicine.