Some OTC Meds Can Hurt Elderly
Unexpected Side Effects for Older People
Gretchen Heuring | ElderThink | 02.18.11
Most Over-the-Counter drugs have special dosage recommendations for children. The reason is that child is smaller and has a different metabolism than an adult. Elderly people are often smaller and have different metabolisms too but there are no special recommendations for them. So we need to be careful.
Older people account for more than 40% of all non-prescription drug use. Often their doctors don't even know these drugs are being used because they are available without prescription.
Sometimes prescribed medications contain some of the same ingredients as over-the-counter drugs so it's possible to overdose without even realizing. Don't hesitate to ask your pharmicist if you can take an OTC drug in combination with your prescriptions.
Confusion and Memory Loss: A Side Effect
There may be cough and cold remedies we have been using for years, but when we get older and smaller and less active, the recommended dose might not be right for us and ingredients in those products can cause forgetfulness. The ingredients have long names and when we don't feel well and are standing in a grocery aisle, it's hard to remember just what might be bad for us. Take a little extra time and ask your pharmicist or doctor before making a purchase.
Here are a few brand names that can cause confusion and memory loss if we take too much.
Dimetapp, Dimetane, Chlorphed and Bromphen all have an ingredient called Brompheniramine. Too much can cause confusion and some other side effects too.
Contac has an ingredient called Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide that causes confusion.
Benedryl, Sominex and Theraflu Multi Symptom have Diphenhydramine which has several unpleasant side effects including confusion, nervousness and muscle weakness. There is a long list of other OTC drugs that contain Diphenhydraine.
Tagamet has an ingredient called Cimetidine which has some serious side effects for older adults including confusion, depression, nervousness and hearing voices.