There are lots of reasons an older adult may need to use a nonprescription painkiller.
They may have aches and pains from arthritis or because of a recent injury or surgery. Some seniors may use painkillers nearly every day to deal with chronic pain. Caregivers have many options to offer their aging relatives, but not every nonprescription painkiller is right or even safe.
Below are some tips to help caregivers determine which one might be right for their aging relative.
Acetaminophen is Usually the Safest
In most cases, acetaminophen is the best option for older adults. Side effects from the drug are rare. However, it’s important to take no more than 3,000 mg per day since it can cause liver damage in higher doses. That means that if a senior has an existing liver condition, they may need to take a lower dose or avoid using acetaminophen altogether. In addition, it’s important to note that lots of other nonprescription medicines contain acetaminophen, such as cold medicines, so caregivers should read ingredient labels to make certain older adults don’t inadvertently take too much.
Avoid the Use of NSAIDs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. These medications can interfere with certain blood thinners. In addition, they are more likely to cause side effects in older adults. Some side effects that NSAIDs may cause are:
- Bleeding in the intestinal tract.
- Stomach pain.
- Peptic ulcers.
- A decrease in kidney function.
- Interactions with medications used for hypertension.
- Fluid retention.
- Increased risk of heart failure.
Experts say that around 41,000 people are hospitalized annually because of problems caused by NSAIDs. In addition, 3,300 seniors die because of them each year.
Use the Same Pharmacy for All Prescriptions
Getting all the senior’s prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy ensures the pharmacist has a complete list of everything they take. Use the same pharmacy when you purchase a nonprescription medication for the older adult. That way, if you’re uncertain whether the medication could interact with prescription drugs, the pharmacist can make an informed decision.
A word of caution before trying any new nonprescription medication or supplement for your older family member. It is always best to contact their doctor before using a new drug or supplement since some of them can interact with a medication the older adult is currently taking. To help the doctor make the proper determination, caregivers should make sure they keep an updated list of medications on hand and provide it to the doctor whenever it changes.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Health Care in Auburn, CA, talk to the caring staff at Partners in Care today. Serving El Dorado, Nevada, Yuba, Sutter, Sacramento, Placer, Butte, Glenn, Yolo, & Colusa Counties! Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! (530) 268-7423