If you’re senior taking prescribed drugs and over-the-counter supplements your doctor doesn’t know about, you might be speeding down the road to danger. Even normal supplements like vitamins, CoQ10 or fish oil might cause reactions with prescriptions.

There are many reasons this could happen, and this article suggests ways to prevent it, including keeping your doctor current on your daily intake, and only using one pharmacy, which can easily look for fed flags from possible interactions.

Older people often take a variety of prescription medications. Their doctors need to know about all of them, as well as any vitamins, supplements or over-the-counter medications they take in order to avoid side effects.

Chances are if you’re 65 or older, you have at least five prescribed medications in your medicine chest. They may be necessary to treat a variety of conditions and prescribed by several doctors who don’t know about each other. If you’ve forgotten to mention these drugs to each physician, you may be setting yourself up for problems.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, each year more than a third of the more than 40 percent of people older than 65 who take some type of medication will suffer a side effect or adverse drug event. There are multiple reasons for this: Older adults often have several chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes; may have age-related physiological changes that cause a negative reaction to certain drugs and may be taking an over the counter drug or herbal supplement along with their prescribed meds.

The chances of these non-prescriptions drugs interacting with prescribed medication increase with each added medication. In addition, older people often use several pharmacies, canceling the ability of their pharmacist to monitor drugs that may interact with each other.

As we age, reductions in liver and kidney function may change the way a drug is broken down and eliminated from the body. In some cases, the medication may stay in the body for a longer period of time, causing severe side effects. In addition, a decline in body weight and loss of fluid and fatty tissue can allow certain drugs to concentrate in the body.

For seniors who use herbal supplements, prescribed drugs may be rendered less effective or cause dangerous side effects. According to a study by the Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, certain drugs such as digoxin, phenobarbital and warfarin are highly sensitive and can easily become more or less effective when taken with a supplement.

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