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Taking five or more medicines in old age may increase risk of infirmity, says study

Ask your grandparents to refer to their doctor about all the medications they take as a study cautions that older adults, who ingest more than five medications, are at increased risk of falls, infirmity ill health and even death.


By   |  Updated On : July 06, 2017 03:43 PM
Taking five or more medicines in old age may increase infirmity

Taking five or more medicines in old age may increase infirmity

New Delhi :  

Ask your grandparents to refer to their doctor about all the medications they take as a study cautions that older adults, who ingest more than five medications, are at increased risk of falls, infirmity ill health and even death.

“Polypharmacy” is the term used when a person takes many (usually five or more) different drugs. Older adults may have problems taking the medications properly and the pills may meddle with a person’s ability to function well. 

The capability of being able to walk well, for example, is a sign of independence and good health for older adults and it may be influenced using too many medications. In a new study, researchers scrutinized how polypharmacy influenced walking while talking. The team examined 482 people aged 65 and older. 

The study’s main aim was to understand how amendments to the brain and our central nervous system happen during aging and how they might have an impact on an older person’s ability to walk. 

The researchers considered all the medications (prescriptions as well as herbal and other over-the-counter supplements) that the participants were taking.

The participants took thorough exams checking physical health, mental well-being, and mobility at the beginning of the study and at annual check-up appointments. 

The results suggested that 34 percent used five or more medications during the study period (June 2011-February 2016); 10 percent used more than eight medications. The participants were mostly in their late 70s. Those, who took eight or more medications, had slower gait when walking while talking. 

The team inferred that there was an association between polypharmacy and walking speed. They also observed that at their check-ups, older adults should be asked about all the medications they take, including herbal and other over-the-counter supplements.
They also suggested that healthcare professionals assess walking speed during regular follow-ups. The research is published in the journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

First Published: Thursday, July 06, 2017 03:38 PM

POPULAR TAGS: Old Age, Medicines,

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