Many health problems are associated with aging. It’s not uncommon for an older adult to have several chronic or long term health problems. For example, they may have arthritis, diabetes, and hypertension (high blood pressure). Older adults may also occasionally have acute or short-term illnesses such as a cold, flu, or urinary tract infection.
Chronic health problems are often treated with one or more medications. For example, someone may take one medication for arthritis, two for diabetes, and one for hypertension. If they get sick, they may take over-the-counter (OTC) medications to lower a fever, decrease pain, or help a stuffy nose. Although all of these medications may help, they may also cause problems when taken together. And as the body ages, it may also react differently to medication. Some harmful effects can become more likely.
For more information, please read the article Multiple Medications in Older Adults.
Written by Josephine Manuele, National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE)
Medically Reviewed by Lindsay Slowiczek, PharmD on October 7, 2016