10 Medications Seniors Should Avoid Taking

Check this list of 10 medications that seniors should not take or should use with caution

Seniors should use medication with caution

Did you know that about a third of adults in their 60s and 70s report taking at least 5 prescription medications?

Medication can be a literal lifesaver. That makes it easy to forget that drugs can also worsen, or even cause, health problems.

Older adults are also more likely to have side effects because aging bodies can be more sensitive to certain medications.

Plus, taking multiple medications increases the chances of having serious side effects or interactions.

To increase safety and well-being, we share a list of 10 drugs seniors should not take or should use with caution from The American Geriatrics Society’s HealthinAging.org website.


How to use this list of medications to avoid

Unless your older adult’s doctor spends most of their time treating seniors (like a geriatric doctor), they may not be aware that drugs can affect older bodies differently.

To help you advocate on their behalf, use this clear and simple list of 10 medications that includes common pain relievers, anti-anxiety meds, sleep aids, and more.

Some of these drugs are available over-the-counter, so don’t assume that non-prescription medications are safe or harmless.

If your older adult is taking a drug on this list, let their doctor know you’re concerned.

Ask if that medication is necessary for their health or if it would be better to switch to a less risky medication to treat that health condition. But in some cases, the benefits of the drug could outweigh the risks – that’s why it’s essential to get their doctor’s recommendation.

Also ask their doctor to do a full review of all their current prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements to make sure they’re all still needed and safe to be taken together.

Even if no changes are made to their current medication list, you’ll now be fully aware of the potential risks and side effects of all the medications your older adult takes.

Important: Never stop, start, or make changes to your senior’s medications without first consulting their doctor.


10 medications seniors should avoid taking or use with caution

Just because a type of medication is on this list doesn’t mean that nobody older than 65 should be taking it.

It means that these types of medications should be used carefully, under their doctor’s supervision, and that everyone should know to watch for possible side effects.

  1. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  2. Aspirin
  3. Digoxin (Lanoxin)
  4. Certain diabetes drugs
  5. Muscle relaxants
  6. Certain medications used for anxiety and/or insomnia like benzodiazepines and sleeping pills
  7. Certain anticholinergic drugs like some antidepressants, some anti-Parkinson drugs, and some irritable bowel syndrome drugs
  8. Certain over-the-counter (OTC) products like ones that contain diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine
  9. Estrogen pills and patches
  10. If you are NOT being treated for psychosis, use antipsychotics such as haloperidol (Haldol), risperidone (Risperdal), or quetiapine (Seroquel) WITH CAUTION


Next Step  Print or save this handy list of 10 medications that seniors should avoid or use with caution from HealthinAging.org (PDF)


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By DailyCaring Editorial Team

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  • Reply June 20, 2019

    Geoffrey Harrison

    Is there an English UK list the ones shown here are all American ?

    • Reply June 20, 2019


      We’re a U.S.-based business, so unfortunately we’re not familiar with healthcare systems in other countries.

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