Avoiding Health Risks for Seniors

Scientific Reflections by Dr. Gerry Norton

Even though seniors (65+) represent about 13% of the population, they use more than one third of prescription drugs. It is even more significant when it is realized that the risks associated with both prescribed and over the counter drugs are dramatically higher among seniors than with the general population. Physicians should expect adverse drug reactions (ADR) as much as 50% for seniors using 5 or more prescription drugs per day. Clearly, risks are much more significant when prescribing drugs to seniors. The medical profession recommends slow and frequent monitoring of prescription drugs when treating ailments among seniors as a means of managing senior health matters. Are these so called precautions enough to safeguard the health of aging patients?

Considering that seniors are generally omitted as candidates in the clinical testing of the drugs that are typically prescribed for them, what scientific information exists to make reliable judgements relating to dosage and treatment periods for seniors utilizing drugs for chronic diseases? Furthermore, cellular changes over time have reached critical levels among seniors resulting in organ deterioration and their sensitivity to drug compounds.
Overall, such age related changes result in organ damage becoming more frequent and consequential. Much more caution is needed in Senior’s Health Management than exists today in modern medical practice.  The negatives of side effects exacerbate critical health conditions in cardio and renal diseases for senior patients.  Since the application of prescription drugs to acute diseases requires short time intervals for treatment, it involves significantly lower risk than the much longer periods of treatment needed for chronic diseases. Further increase in risk is caused by the cascading effect of even more prescriptions to counteract the cumulative side effects of other drugs.

CellQuest scientists are planning to cooperate with caring and conscientious physicians to help reduce the risks to seniors dramatically. This cooperation aims to raise awareness of the benefits of “complementary alternative medicines” for seniors in order to minimize the negative effects of depending upon drugs alone in the management of age related chronic diseases.