As you get older, one of the most important things you need to know is that your body reacts differently to drugs than it would have when you were younger. This fact raises some issues of which you need to be aware. Maxwell Pharmacy, Inc., a drug store in East Harlem New York, New York, shares information you need to know on drugs, pain, and you:

1. Your metabolism may be slower. Part of the reason drugs have a different effect on older people is that most drugs tend to hang around longer in the system of a senior than in a younger person. As you age, your body’s filtration system – your kidneys and liver – can be affected by disease or age and can take longer to filter drugs out of your system. Also, most seniors weigh less than the average person, so the same amount of drug will have a greater effect in them than in younger people, who weigh more.

2. You may be mixing a lot of different drugs. This is one of the greatest issues of concern for experts on pain and aging. Two-thirds of Americans take two or more medications each day. And any time you mix more than one drug, it elevates your risk of adverse reactions because medications frequently compete with your liver’s ability to detoxify them, thus slowing their excretion. It’s much like taking a chemistry set and randomly mixing compounds together. Unless you know what you’re doing, you could trigger a reaction in any number of organs in your body.

It’s critical to bring a list of your medications to the doctor every time so that the doctor can look at it and find out what you’re taking, especially if you’re seeing more than one doctor. You need to make sure that doctor A is not accidentally poisoning you because of what doctor B is giving you.

3. You’re a prime candidate for drug side effects. It’s a logical, if scary, progression: Because older men and women are more sensitive to the actions of drugs, they’re more likely to experience side effects, some of which can be serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. If you take something and it makes your heart race, or if you start to perspire, have trouble breathing, or your throat constricts, go to the emergency room right away.

Be sure to call your doctor immediately if you develop the following symptoms as these are signs of adverse reactions:

  • Rashes
  • Indigestion
  • Vomiting
  • Sour stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Balance problems
  • Black or bloody stools
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Double vision
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of sense of taste
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