Medications to Avoid

By AGS Foundation for Health in Aging. 

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) used to reduce pain and inflammation

AVOID long-acting NSAIDs like indomethacin (Indocin) and piroxicam (Feldene).
•  Shorter-acting NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and salsalate (Disalcid) are better choices.
•  If you take NSAIDs regularly, and have a history of ulcers or are 75 years of age or older, you may need to protect your stomach against bleeding with a prescription medication such as misoprostol (Cytotec) or a proton pump inhibitor such as omeprazole (Prilosec).
•  Because of the increased risk of bleeding, don’t use NSAIDs together with aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dabigatran (Pradaxa), dipyridamole (Persantine), prasugrel (Effient), ticlopidine (Ticlid), or warfarin (Coumadin).

WHY – NSAIDs can increase the risk of indigestion, ulcers, and bleeding in your stomach or colon. They can also increase blood pressure, affect your kidneys, and make heart failure worse.

AVOID digoxin (Lanoxin) in doses greater than 0.125 mg.
• Digoxin is used to treat heart failure and irregular heartbeats.
WHY – It can be toxic in older adults and people whose kidneys do not work well.

AVOID Certain Diabetes Drugs
• Glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase) and chlorpropamide (Diabinese)
WHY – These can cause severe low blood sugar.

AVOID Muscle Relaxants
• Such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), methocarbamol  (Robaxin), and carisoprodol (Soma), and similar
WHY – They can leave you feeling   groggy and confused, increase your risk of falls, and cause constipation, dry mouth, and problems urinating. Plus, there is little evidence that they work well.

AVOID Certain Medications used for Anxiety and/or Insomnia
•  Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), or chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
• Sleeping pills such as zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien)
WHY – They can increase your risk of falls, as well as cause confusion. Because it takes your body a long time to get rid of these drugs, you could feel groggy and sleepy for a long time.

AVOID Certain Anticholinergic Drugs
• Antidepressants amitriptyline (Elavil) and imipramine (Tofranil)
• Anti-Parkinson drug trihexyphenidyl (Artane)
• Irritable bowel syndrome drug dicyclomine (Bentyl)
• Overactive bladder drug oxybutynin (Ditropan)
WHY – They can cause confusion, constipation, problems urinating, blurry vision, and low blood pressure.    Men with an enlarged prostate should be particularly cautious.

AVOID the Pain Reliever meperidine (Demerol).
WHY – It can increase the risk of seizures and can cause confusion.

AVOID Certain Over-the-Counter Products
•  AVOID products that contain the antihistamines diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (AllerChlor, Chlor-Trimeton) particularly in men with an enlarged prostate).
•  AVOID over-the-counter sleep products, like Tylenol PM, which contain diphenhydramine.
WHY – Although these medications are sold without a prescription, they are not risk free. They can cause confusion, blurred vision, constipation, problems urinating, and dry mouth.

If you are NOT being treated for psychosis, AVOID using Antipsychotics
• Such as haloperidol (Haldol), risperidone (Risperdal), or quetiapine (Seroquel).
WHY – They can increase the risk of stroke or even death.They can also cause tremors and other side effects, as well as increase your risk of falls.

AVOID Estrogen pills and patches
• Typically prescribed for hot flashes and other menopause-related symptoms.
WHY – They can increase your risk of breast cancer, blood clots, and even dementia.

Dangerous Drug List



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