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March 22nd, 2010
Switching Prescription Drugs to over the Counter in the Elderly Increases Risk

An increasing number of prescription medications are now being sold as over the counter drugs worldwide, with the support of government policy. But does switching prescription drugs to over the counter in the elderly have any negative side effects?

Switching Prescription Drugs to over the Counter in the Elderly “Taking too many commonly purchased sedatives, such as antihistamines, can cause unsteady balance and falls in older people”

Changing prescription drugs to over the counter is motivated by three main factors, including: a pharmaceutical firms’ wish to expand their market, savings in government spending on health, and the self-care movement. Recently, two high profile changes included omeprazole in Sweden and simvastatin in the United Kingdom.

However, reclassifications of prescription drugs to over the counter in the elderly can create various problems. Older patients are the largest consumers of both prescription and over the counter drugs, accounting for up to 40% of all nonprescription medication use. This makes them more susceptible to negative drug effects and risks of multiple or inappropriate medications. For instance, taking too many commonly purchased sedatives, such as antihistamines, can cause unsteady balance and falls in older people.

Furthermore, many doctors do not ask their patients for specific information about over the counter medicine and problems related to use of these drugs may go unnoticed. In addition, reclassifying prescription drugs to over the counter in the elderly may result in patients delaying visits to medical professionals for potentially serious conditions.

While over the counter drugs are still monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada, many elderly patients are unaware of proper dosing, side effects, adverse drug reactions, and possible medical interactions. Due to the fact that older patients have a higher chance of serious drug reactions, switching prescription drugs to over the counter in the elderly can increase vulnerability and risk of inappropriate medication consumption.

For more information about switching prescription drugs to over the counter medication, visit http://www.orderonlinedrugs.com

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