Life Health & Wellbeing

Sunday 22 July 2018

Review long-term meds annually

You should review your medicines once a year
You should review your medicines once a year

If you're taking medication long term, your GP should review your medicines at least once a year to make sure they're still right for you. Also it is worth remembering that over-the counter medications are not free from side effects or potential complications.

Always read the information leaflet that comes with any medication carefully or check with a pharmacist to make sure it is suitable for you.

These are the messages to emerge from a recent study by scientists in Trinity College and St James's Hospital in Dublin in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

It found some anticholinergic medicines, both prescribed and over the counter, are associated with falls in older people. This class of drugs block the action of one of the nervous system's signalling chemicals called acetylcholine.These drugs are used to treat a wide variety of conditions and symptoms, including incontinence, depression and psychosis. Some anticholinergic medicines are available over the counter, such as the antihistamine chlorpheniramine, which is used to treat allergies.

Older adults are reportedly often prescribed these drugs. They also may be taking more than one medication of this type, which may make them more susceptible to side effects. Side effects can include blurred vision, drowsiness, an unsteady gait and confusion, all of which could increase the risk of falls in older people.

The medicines increased the risk of serious falls, causing serious injury, in people aged over 65 years. Never stop taking medication before checking with a doctor or pharmacist, but ask for a review if you have concerns.

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