Q. My elderly mother has been taking the following drugs for at least 15 years. They are: furosemide for blood pressure, doxepin and thioridazine to calm her and help her sleep, Lanoxin for her heart and acetaminophen with codeine, two every four hours, for pain. I’m very concerned about the possible effects of these medications after so many years, but I can’t get a straight answer from her doctor.
A. You are right to be concerned. Medicines that may have been safe for her 15 years ago could be quite troublesome now. Some of her drugs could be putting her at risk for cognitive impairment, dizziness or falls. We have listed medications that are considered inappropriate for the elderly in our new Guide to Drugs and Older People.
Another reader complains, “Some doctors write prescriptions for senior citizens to put them in ‘la la’ land or treat symptoms without thinking of possible side effects. This happened to my mother before she passed away.”