Please enjoy this article written by our friends at DrugWatch.com. The organization is an awareness group that aims to educate the public about prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and medical devices that have the potential to cause patients serious harm. Their website is continually updated with drug recall news, recent FDA approvals, drug interactions, side effects, and current developments in the medical field.
Important Medical News for Seniors
Older Americans are often prescribed several drugs to manage their health. Even though everyone should be careful when taking medications, it’s important for seniors to know the benefits and risks.
It can be easy to trust a doctor’s orders without really understanding why they are prescribing certain drugs, but the more information patients and doctors have, the more informed decisions can be made. Changes and adjustments can often be made based on a person’s individual circumstances.
Knowledge of how a particular medication works can also alert people to possible dangerous side effects.
There are certain questions seniors should ask their doctor about the medications prescribed. The AARP suggests seniors ask their doctors the following questions in order to help them avoid certain mistakes that could negatively affect their health:
- When and how should I use this new drug?
- What is the purpose of the medication?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- Will the drug interact with other medications, vitamins or supplements I’m taking?
- Is a generic or lower-cost brand name medication available?
- What side effects, reactions or warning signs should I watch out for?
Knowledge about prescription drugs doesn’t stop with those questions. Medical news is always changing. Studies often show that medications once thought of as safe could do damage after long-term use or when mixed with other medications. Some of these drugs lead to the development of more damaging diseases.
Diabetes Drugs May Increase Cancer, Other Health Risks
There are several pills that fight Type 2 diabetes on the market that don’t use insulin to treat the condition. Instead, many of them stimulate insulin production in the body. Some people take a combination of the medications to treat the condition.
Studies show that many who were prescribed these drugs have reported developing certain illnesses linked to popular diabetes medications:
- Actos: Bladder cancer, heart problems
- Byetta & Bydureon: Pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, heart attack
- Januvia & Janumet: Pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and kidney problems
- Victoza: Pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, thyroid and gland issues
As always, when it comes to taking certain medications for certain conditions, it’s up to the patient to discuss the risk and benefits with their doctors. Type 2 diabetes can be managed. It’s much harder to manage certain heart conditions and cancers.
Making healthy food choices, getting exercising and losing weight may also decrease your need for these medications. Patients can work with their doctors to safely manage their conditions.
Important Medical Device News
Medical devices are technological advances that have helped improved peoples’ lives. However, not all of them work as intended. Some are recalled due to defects.
Metal-on-metal hip implants have been the subject of many medical headlines over the past few years. In the past, most implants, which mimic the ball and the socket joint of the hip, were made of plastic and ceramic.
The metal-on-metal prosthetics were originally thought to be an innovation for hip replacement surgery. Instead of being stronger and longer-lasting than implants made from other materials, they were a disaster for patients.
Thousands of patients have claimed injury due to the implants breaking early or rubbing together and sending metal debris into their bloodstream, causing blood poisoning. In many cases, metal-on-metal hip implant recipients underwent revision surgeries, which meant replacing their hip implant.
Johnson & Johnson has been in the news lately for their metal-on-metal prosthetics. J&J will pay $2.5 billion dollars to settle at least 8,000 lawsuits against its subsidiary company DePuy Orthopaedics. Patients claimed the ASR Hip Implant system caused serious complications.
Stryker is just one of several metal hip manufacturing companies with pending lawsuits. The company’s neck and stem components for their Rejuvenate and ABG II products were also blamed for causing those same health concerns.
Manufacturers including Biomet, Zimmer and Wright Medical are also facing lawsuits that claim their devices were faulty and caused injury.
Stay Informed and Follow Up on Prescriptions
Any information you can get about the drugs or devices you’re using can help you. Patients should ask their doctors to review their medications at least once a year and ask whether they are still needed at their current dosage.
Making healthy choices involves being fully informed. Knowledge empowers a patient to understand why they are making certain choices and the potential consequences of those actions. Information gives them the opportunity to ask their physicians questions and understand what the doctor is talking about.
- National Institute on Aging. (n.d.) Age Page: Diabetes In Older People-A Disease you Can Manage. [Fact Sheet] Retrieved from http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/diabetes-older-people
- Drugwatch. (n.d.) Dangerous Drugs. Drugwatch.com. Retrieved from http://www.drugwatch.com/drugs-and-devices/
- AARP (2012, December 7). 9 Types of Medication Older Adults Should Use With Caution. AARP.com. Retrieved from http://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-07-2011/medications-older-adults-should-use-with-caution.html
- National Institutes Of Health. (n.d.) Taking Medicines. [Fact sheet]. Retrieved from http://nihseniorhealth.gov/takingmedicines/sideeffects/01.html
- Hollmer, M. (2013, November 19) Updated: J&J acknowledges $2.5B-plus hip lawsuit settlement agreement. Firece Medical Devices. Retrieved from http://www.fiercemedicaldevices.com/story/reported-jj-hip-settlement-drops-25b-conditions-added/2013-11-19
- Drugwatch. (n.d.) Stryker and Stryker Orthopaedics. Drugwatch.com Retrieved from http://www.drugwatch.com/manufacturer/stryker-orthopaedics/