A new study has found that many people who stopped taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs were also taking an average of three other drugs that interfered with the normal metabolism of the statins.
The other drugs can contribute to a common side effect of taking statins – muscle pain – and often led people to discontinue use of a medication that could otherwise help save their life, researchers learned.
The interactions of many drugs with statins have been known of for some time, researchers said, but are not being adequately managed by physicians and pharmacists, who could often choose different medications or adjust dosages to retain the value of statin drugs without causing this side effect.
The research, done as part of a survey of more than 10,000 current and former statin users, found that use of medications which interfere with statin metabolism almost doubles the chance that a person will discontinue statin use due to muscle pain.
The issue is of growing importance because statin drugs are some of the most widely used medications in the world, proven to lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and decrease the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, strokes and death. About 20 million people in the U.S. now take statins, and new guidelines have just been issued to further expand the types of health conditions for which statins may be of benefit. Based on those guidelines, the number of statin users could increase to more than 30 million.
The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology by scientists from Oregon State University and four other universities or research institutes.
“We’ve known for some time of many medications that can interact with statins, but only now is it becoming clear that this is a significant contributor to the side effects, and often the reason some patients stop taking statins,” said Matt Ito, a professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy and president of the National Lipid Association, which funded this study.
“This issue is something physicians, pharmacists and patients all need to be more aware of,” Ito said. “There’s a lot we can do besides discontinue use of these valuable medications. You can change dosages, use drugs that don’t cause interactions, use different types of statins. Patients need to be proactive in understanding this issue and working with their health care providers to address it.”
Persons who have problems taking statins should discuss options with their physicians or pharmacists, Ito said, and not assume the drug has be to discontinued. A Medscape web site at http://reference.medscape.com/drug-interactionchecker also can help individuals learn more about possible interactions between statins and the full range of medications they may be taking.
Statins are usually well-tolerated, but in the recent survey, a muscle-related side effect was reported by 29 percent of participants. In former statin users, 62 percent of the people said that side effects, mostly muscle pain, were the reason they stopped taking the drugs.
There are many drugs that can interfere with statin metabolism, increase systemic exposure to the statin and raise the risk of this muscle pain, the researchers said in their report. This can include some common antibiotics, cardiovascular drugs, and others taken for treatment of cancer, mental health, HIV treatment and other conditions.
These interactions are not always adequately considered by physicians and pharmacists, however. One recent report found that as many as 20 percent of significant statin-drug interactions were missed in 64 pharmacies.
Besides drug interactions, statin side effects are also more common in women and associated with increasing age, history of cardiovascular disease, and some other conditions. Statin discontinuation has been associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and death.
About the OSU College of Pharmacy: The College of Pharmacy prepares students of today to be the pharmacy practitioners and pharmaceutical sciences researchers of tomorrow by contributing to improved health, advancing patient care and the discovery and understanding of medicines.
Actor Lee Majors Joins Flu + You Campaign to Raise Awareness of Risks of Flu for People 65 and Older
National Council on Aging Launches Second Year of Education Program for Older Adults and Those Who Care for Them Aimed at Helping to Protect More Older Adults from the Flu
Actor Lee Majors, best known for his iconic roles on The Big Valley, The Fall Guy, and The Six Million Dollar Man, is joining the National Council on Aging (NCOA) Flu + You program to help protect older adults from influenza (commonly known as “the flu”). Flu + You aims to inform adults 65 and older, their caregivers, and those who care about them, about the dangers of the flu, the importance of annual vaccination, and available vaccine options.
As a part of his involvement in the Flu + You campaign, Majors will appear in a public service announcement (PSA) that follows him as he embarks on an important and action-packed mission: learning about his vaccine options and getting vaccinated against the flu. The PSA will educate the public about the increased risk of flu in adults 65 years of age and older and the importance of knowing your vaccine options and getting a flu vaccine, even for tough guys like Majors.
Every year in the United States, roughly nine out of 10 flu-related deaths and more than six out of 10 flu-related hospitalizations occur in people 65 and older. Older adults are at a greater risk for flu due, in part, to the weakening of the immune system that typically occurs with age. This means that no matter how healthy or youthful we feel, as we age we become more vulnerable to the flu and its related complications.
“The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine as the single best way to protect yourself from the flu, yet a third of people 65 and older still don’t get vaccinated,” said Richard Birkel, PhD, MPA, NCOA Senior Vice President for Healthy Aging and Director of NCOA’s Self-Management Alliance. “As NCOA continues to educate older adults about the flu and the potential severity of the illness, we hope to encourage more people to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting an annual flu shot.”
The flu vaccine offers the best defense to protect against the flu, and adults 65 years of age and older have several vaccine options. In addition to the traditional flu vaccine (which helps protect against three strains of the flu virus), there is also a quadrivalent vaccine (which helps protect against four strains), and a higher dose vaccine that was designed specifically for adults 65 and older. By improving the production of antibodies in older patients, the higher dose vaccine can provide a stronger immune response to the flu than traditional vaccines. All flu vaccines are covered as a Medicare Part B benefit, which means there is no copay for Medicare beneficiaries 65 years of age and older.
“I get the flu shot every year and encourage my peers to do the same – it’s a simple step you can take to protect yourself from the flu,” says actor Lee Majors. “I urge everyone 65 years of age and older to talk to their health care provider about their vaccine options this flu season.”
The flu can make existing health conditions worse, and it is especially dangerous for people with lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer—conditions that commonly affect older adults. Nationwide, 86 percent of adults 65 years of age and older have at least one chronic health condition and approximately 66 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have two or more chronic conditions, putting them at increased risk of the flu and flu-related complications, which can be severe and include hospitalization and even death.
For more facts about flu, and to order free educational materials, including a brochure and fact sheet, visit www.ncoa.org/Flu.
About Flu + You
Flu + You is a national public education initiative, from the National Council on Aging with support from Sanofi Pasteur, to educate adults 65 years and older about the dangers of the influenza virus, the importance of annual vaccination, and available vaccine options. Older adults and their caregivers can learn more on the Flu + You website, www.ncoa.org/Flu, which features a public service announcement with Lee Majors and facts about the flu. Also available on the website is a calendar of Flu + You events that will be held in 12 cities throughout the United States in September and October. At the events, older adults will have the opportunity to learn more about their risks for flu and available vaccine options, as well as talk to a health care provider and receive a flu vaccination.
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for millions of older adults—especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit:
www.NCOA.org | www.facebook.com/NCOAging | www.twitter.com/NCOAging
CONTACT: Dana Kinker, (212) 301-7181, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior citizens purchase 35-40% of all prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Seniors between the ages of 65-84 take from 14-to-18 prescriptions annually. Up to 25% of these medications are considered unnecessary or inaccurate.
The Internet offers numerous articles and other information on how senior citizens can protect themselves from over-medication and other unnecessary treatments. Some of these articles are written by physicians who realize that medical drugs are not the answer to all health conditions. Additionally, a recent midwestern newspaper article indicates that less than half of our medical care is supported by adequate scientific evidence. These kind of articles also offer recommendations for protection from the harmful side effects of too much medication.
1. Good insurance pays. Although health insurance is a good thing to have nowadays, do keep in mind that your insurance and drug plans could be prevailed upon for medical business reasons. If you already have medicare and other health insurance, your health condition could inadvertently be targeted for more treatments than really necessary.
2. Common sense. Listen to your best instincts about the treatments you might or might not need. Do not passively accept medication without knowing its exact health goal and purpose first. Ask questions about your prescription and why you need it for your specific condition? Make sure this treatment makes sense to you.
Although senior citizens account for only 13% of the population, they purchase up to 40% of all medications. Therefore, document any side effects from your prescriptions, and report them to your doctor, e.g., headache, cough, drowsiness, dizziness, pain, itching, gas, upset stomach, or constipation. Your doctor can change these medications if they cause you discomfort.
3. Take someone with you to an appointment. Take a friend or family member with you when you see your doctor. This person will add to your advocacy by giving you emotional support, and by helping you thwart questionable prescriptions or treatments. Three heads are better than one. Also, remember that 77% of the seniors between the ages of 65-70 have at least one chronic illness. Thus, you could really need one or two prescriptions of some kind.
Yet, other prescriptions are questionable. For example, if you have a desirable cholesterol level lower than 200-mg/dL, and your doctor prescribes a statin drug to enhance your cholesterol level, you will need to question that recommendation to find out exactly why you need it for your apparent condition. Will it affect your other bodily systems in some way, good or bad? In another reported situation, a study at a northwestern state university found that some doctors were prescribing powerful anti-psychotic drugs to patients for mild depression, anxiety, and insomnia. These drugs are approved only for serious mental and emotional disorders. Otherwise, the effects from these drugs can be harmful.
Still other adverse medical effects can be somewhat innocent. In one case, a senior started taking two common OTC pills daily to help reduce hip pain. However, these pills thinned that person’s blood, which caused his or her small colon fissures to bleed. After the resulting bleeding showed up in the stool, this senior was much relieved to find out it was not caused by cancer.
4. Learn about your medical condition. If you have a computer available, search the Internet for reliable information about your condition, and how to treat it. If not, try a public or medical library to find out as much about it as you can. This kind of knowledge is defensive power in favor of your continued good health.
5. Keep and carry your own set of records. Carry your basic health history and information with you, in writing. List your chronic conditions, medications, allergies, blood type as well as your doctor’s name and phone number. Also keep a copy of these life-saving records in the open at your residence in case of an emergency, or in case you become unconscious and cannot provide this information verbally. Additionally, if possible, add copies of your laboratory test results to these records. Your life could depend on them.
6. Report suspected abuse or fraud. Medicare fraud costs tax payers multiple millions of dollars, and causes health insurance premiums to rise sharply. Study the suspect fraud carefully, and then report it. Such abuse can be reported to a senior-medicare patrol in your area or state if they exist. These offices or patrols are found at the government agencies on aging. For starters, see the links below for prevention and protection.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=J_Delms
As we reach our later years we are at risk of a great many health concerns. The list of senior citizens health conditions is a long and complex one. It includes both mental and physical issues and some people will be plagued with both.
It can only be expected that, as time takes it toll on our bodies, we will experience some deterioration in our physical and mental wellbeing. That is not to say that once we have retired we are on the scrap heap and just waiting until our lives are over. Far from it. There has been a huge amount of medical research taking place over the last century, and indeed much longer, and this has paved the way for a greater understanding of the aging process. We are now much more educated regarding nutrition and health matters and are able to control and sometimes eliminate many of the senior citizens health conditions.
One of the main fears that the elderly face is that of dementia of one form or another. The most commonly known is Alzheimer’s Disease but there are others. This affects the patients mind and can be the cause of heartache for a caring partner who will feel unable to help. They will find that they spend much of their time caring for the patient whilst at the same time having to accept the fact that they are becoming more distant as the disease progresses. This can be aggravated if the carer is also suffering from any one of the other senior citizens health conditions, either physically or mentally.
Other serious conditions can often include strokes. Post stroke problems can vary hugely depending on the severity of the attack and the level of recovery of the patient. Sometimes a stroke can result in partial paralysis. This obviously has a far reaching affect on the elderly and may jeopardise their ability to get out and visit family and friends. Even the most simple tasks, which were taken for granted previously, may now cause a problem; shopping, housework etc. Strokes are high on the list of senior citizens health conditions, but, they are also the subject of a lot of research and our understanding of the subject is increasing all the time. Post stroke care has improved a great deal and in some cases patients now recover fully.
Heart disease has been an increasing problem in all age groups, but continues to be a main factor in contributing to senior citizens health conditions. Once again, however, research is good on the subject and our knowledge increasing all the time. Surgical options are becoming more common and our expertise in the field has contributed to many lives being extended.
There are a number of senior citizens health conditions which can be helped by a careful diet being followed during our earlier years. Osteoporosis, rheumatism and arthritis have all been the subject of studies and tests. Some foods have been found to be a great help in reducing the chances of becoming a sufferer.
Don’t wait until it is too late. There has been so much research undertaken on the subject of senior citizens health conditions that you would be wise to take action early and follow the advice that is available so that you can increase your chances of enjoying your later years in the best possible health.
Ian Pennington is an accomplished niche website developer and author.
To learn more about senior health [http://seniorhealthblog.info/senior-citizens-health-conditions], please visit Senior Health Blog [http://seniorhealthblog.info] for current articles and discussions.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ian_Pennington
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