10% of Older Men Taking Risky Combo of Drugs

A new study that came out looked at utilization of drugs by seniors and raises the flag that people are mixing drugs with other drugs or vitamins that may put them at risk. Since pharmacists and doctors don’t always know all the things their patients are taking, it is a lot harder to catch these issues than traditional drug-drug interactions which are caught at the pharmacy.

A couple of the most common combinations that they cite are:

Warfarin, a potent prescription clot-fighting drug, was often taken with aspirin. Both increase the risk of bleeding, so the odds are even higher when both drugs are taken. The researchers said these risks also occur when warfarin is taken with garlic pills, which some studies have suggested can benefit the heart and help prevent blood clots.

Aspirin taken with over-the-counter ginkgo supplements, increasing chances for excess bleeding.

Lisinopril, a blood pressure drug, taken with potassium, which combined can cause abnormal heart rhythms. Potassium is often prescribed to restore low levels of this important mineral caused by certain blood pressure drugs.

Prescription cholesterol drugs called statins [Lipitor, Crestor, Simvastatin/Zocor] taken with over-the-counter niacin, a type of vitamin B that also lowers cholesterol. This combination increases risks for muscle damage.

One Response to “10% of Older Men Taking Risky Combo of Drugs”

  1. Regarding Statin Medications:

    Facts Believed to be Associated With All Statin Medications:

    Adverse events associated with the statin class of pharmaceuticals are thought to occur more often than they are reported- with high doses of statins prescribed to patients in particular. However, ince this class of drugs has existed for use for over 20 years, statins are considered safe and effective for enhancing the clearance of LDL noted to be elevated in the lipid profiles of patients.

    Additionally, there is no reduction in cardiovascular morbidity or mortality, as well as an increase in a person’s lifespan, if one is on any particular statin medication for their lipid management over another, others have concluded. So caution should perhaps be considered if one chooses to prescribe such a drug for a patient if they are absent of dyslipidemia to a significant degree, or are under the belief that one statin medication provides a greater cardiovascular benefit over another. In other words, the health care provider should be assured that any statin therapy for their patients is considered reasonable and necessary if the LDL in their patients need to be reduced perhaps at this time with the evidence that exists regarding statins.

    Abstract etiologies for those who choose to prescribe statin drugs on occasion for reasons not indicated by these statin drugs- such as reducing CRP levels, or for Alzheimer’s treatment, or anything else not involved with LDL reduction may not appropriate prophylaxis at this point for any patient. All other benefits that appear to have favorable effects in such areas are speculative at this point, and require further research for disease states aside from dyslipidemia, according to many.

    Statins as a particular class of drugs that seem to in fact decrease the risk of cardiovascular events significantly, it has been proven. Statins also decrease thrombus formation as well as modulate inflammatory responses (CRP). For those patients with dyslipidemia who are placed on a statin, the effects of that statin on reducing a patient’s LDL level can be measured with the efficacy of the statin after about five weeks of therapy on a particular statin drug. Liver Function blood tests are recommended for those patients on continued statin therapy, and most are chronically taking statins for the rest of their lives to manage their lipid profile in regards to maintaining the suitable LDL level for a particular patient presently.

    Yet some have said that about half of all strokes and heart attacks that do occur are not because of increased cholesterol levels of these patients. Others believe that it is oxidized cholesterol that causes vulnerable plaques to form on coronary arterial walls, which is the catalyst for a heart attack, and that there is no medicinal treatment for the formation or stabilization of these plaques to prevent heart attacks or strokes. Others who promote and support statin medicinal therapy claim that these drugs, do, in fact, stabilize these plaques, and therefore are beneficial.

    As stated previously, in regards to other uses of statins besides just LDL reduction, there is evidence to suggest that statins have other benefits besides lowering LDL, such as reducing inflammation (CRP) with patients on statin therapy, those patients with dementia or Parkinson’s disease may benefit from statin medication, as well as those patients who may have certain types of cancer or even cataracts. Yet again, these other roles for statin therapy have only been minimally explored, comparatively speaking. Because of the limited evidence regarding additional benefits of statins, the drug should again be prescribed for those with dyslipidemia only at this time involving elevated LDL levels as detected in the patient’s bloodstream.

    Yet overall, the existing cholesterol lowering recommendations or guidelines should be re-evaluated, as they may be over-exaggerated upon tacit suggestions from the makers of statins to those who create these current lipid lowering guidelines. This is notable if one chooses to compare these cholesterol guidelines with others in the past. The cholesterol guidelines that exist now are considered by many health care providers and experts to be rather unreasonable, unnecessary, and possibly detrimental to a patient’s health, according to others. Yet statins are beneficial medications for those many people that exist with elevated LDL levels that can cause cardiovascular events to occur because of this abnormality.

    What that ideal LDL level is may have yet to be empirically determined.

    Finally, a focus on children and their lifestyles should be amplified so their arteries do not become those of one who is middle-aged, and this may prevent them from being candidates for statin therapy now and in the future, regarding the high cholesterol issue.

    Dietary management should be the first consideration in regards to correcting lipid dysfunctions, according to others,

    Dan Abshear

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