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Safe medication for senior citizens

The need for medication increases with age. Appropriate and safe medication helps manage diseases and maintain everyday functionality. You should have your medication needs and the safety of your medication assessed at least once a year.  

Increased age brings with it changes in bodily functions. As you age, the effect different medications have on your body can change, and you might become more vulnerable to any side effects. The time it takes for the medicine to leave your system may also increase. It is advisable to have your medication assessed regularly, especially at times when your health status or medication has changed.

For instance, tranquilising medication and sleeping pills may cause daytime sleepiness, falls, memory loss or even addiction. If used to treat insomnia, tranquilising medication and sleeping pills should only be used for short periods of time. Anxiety and insomnia should primarily be treated with other methods than long-term medication, for instance with lifestyle changes.

We recommend that you have your overall health status, your medication and your lifestyle assessed if you suffer from any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe weakness or confusion
  • Lack of energy during exercise
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness when standing up
  • Muscle tension, shaking
  • Difficulty passing urine or constipation
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Sleeplessness
  • Heartburn
  • Lack of appetite, nausea and/or vomiting

A geriatrician, i.e. a specialist in medical care for the elderly, assesses your overall health status and the suitability of your medication. If necessary, he or she can refer you for further examinations such as memory tests, lab tests or MRI scans.