Medications and the Elderly

pills

Medications

This is the first of a couple of blogs about medications.

Medications for the elderly is a controversial and painful topic, we can find disagreement among families and the medical community. Here is a snapshot of what I went through with my otherwise relatively healthy father.

Blogs related to medication are not meant to be medical advice.

Prostate Health

…not something a daughter wants to think about with her father.  However, when you go to medical appointments with them, you learn about all sorts of conditions.  Dad had started taking a drug to shrink his prostrate, so as not to have urination problems. It was going along fine until I decided he should leave “Dr. Smith” and make an appointment at my clinic.

I requested an appointment with a physician treating seniors. We were scheduled with whom I thought was a family practice physician.  This doctor practiced in family practice, but he primarily saw pediatrics and teens – he wondered why we were seeing him?  (So did I!)   At my father’s report of his urination difficulties, this doctor increased my dad’s dose of prostate medication by a large amount.

Dizzy

Long story short, the prescription was too high of a dose.  Throughout the day my father proceeded to get quite dizzy (more dizzy than normal).  He fell and cut his head open.  At busthat time he wasn’t driving – I had dropped him off at the office in the morning.  Ever resourceful and independent, Dad took a bus to the clinic, had the cut cleaned up, and returned back to his office without alerting anyone in the family.

I later learned this prostrate medication should only be increased in small increments. Why the doctor prescribed a high dose, I do not know.  Dad never saw him again, and I didn’t pursue the topic.  However, my father, forgetful though he was, did not forget that incident! He told it over and over, I even received a call from my aunt “informing” me of this situation. (I didn’t know if it would be better to tell her I knew about it, or to just keep quiet, so I kept quiet.)

This is a good example of how I danced around the real story!

Alzheimer’s Medications

At that time there were a couple of medications prescribed for Alzheimer’s.   Even though he was not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, one common medication indicated it may help people with vascular and other types of dementia.  He did take that medication for a while.  Whether or not it helped – we’ll never know.

 Statins – Is the Jury Still Out?

There was evidence stating statins may help vascular problems; Dad was on one of them for several years. Towards the end of his life, a physician told me the current research showed statins do not help prevent dementia.

A good physician will be schooled in the most current clinical expertise and is definitely more reliable than the internet.

More to come later on medications – to use, to not use, to discontinue.   Tough decisions for the medical team and caregivers.

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