Due to the prevalence of prescription drugs and medical devices, seniors need to be aware of what products they are using in order to protect themselves from potential dangers. I would like to introduce my guest blogger Jennifer Mesko the managing editor of Drugwatch.com, an organization aimed at informing the public about dangerous prescription drugs and defective medical devices.
As people age, they may face several ailments and conditions.
There are a host of prescription drugs on the market that are designed to treat these ailments. Nearly 81 percent of seniors take at least one medication, and just about half of that population takes more than five drugs a day.
Due to the prevalence of prescription drugs and medical devices, seniors need to be aware of what products they are using in order to protect themselves from potential dangers.
Patients will have to weigh whether the benefits of a drug or device are worth the possible risks.
An estimated 11 million Americans older than 65 have diabetes, and there are many drugs on the market that are designed to treat it. But several of these medications have been linked to dangerous side effects.
Drugs like Januvia, Byetta and Victoza, which are designed to regulate blood sugar, could actually lead to pancreatitis and or even pancreatic cancer. Doctors and patients need to discuss the benefits and the risks of these medications.
Doctors prescribe blood thinners (anticoagulants) to prevent blood clots in seniors and to lessen the risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious medical problems. Drugs like Padraxa and Xarelto have recently hit the market as challengers to older blood thinners.
However, these newer drugs have been linked to serious side effects, including some deaths. The most serious risk is uncontrollable bleeding.
Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:
*Bleeding from the gums or nose
*Pink or brown urine
*Coughing or vomiting blood
Seniors taking these drugs need to pay attention to the risks and talk to their doctors about the safest blood thinner option.
Seniors may require hip replacement if the joint has deteriorated beyond the point of repair.
Hip replacements are common, and most doctors and patients report good outcomes. However, like any surgery, there are risks like infection and blood clots.
There are also additional risks that are linked to the type of implant used. If the artificial joint contains two or more metal parts, significant complications can occur. These joints can fail early and lead to metal poisoning. If either of these occurs, revision surgery likely will be needed.
Manufacturers like Zimmer have had problems with their metal hip devices. Many patients who have undergone surgery and received a Zimmer implant are now eligible to recover lawsuit compensation for such complications.
Patients should talk to their doctors about which implant will be used, and about the risks involved.
Different Patients Have Different Outcomes
Every patient is different. There is no way of knowing if you will suffer these side effects or not. These drugs and devices might actually work for you.
However, it is good to know what to look for when you take a new drug or use a new device. Knowing these potential health risks, discussing them with your doctor and paying attention to your health will help you evaluate the safety of these products.
Jennifer Mesko is the managing editor of Drugwatch.com, a consumer advocacy website. She aims to keep the public informed about dangerous prescription drugs and defective medical devices.
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