Are your COPD medications in a competition?

The majority of older adults have more than one chronic health condition. In the US, it is estimated that the number may be as high a 75%.

In a study of how the medications for the different conditions may adversely interact, researchers found that 22.6 percent of the adults were taking at least one medication that worsened another preexisting condition.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, also found that in cases where the “competition” was a problem, treatment was only changed by doctors in 16 percent of the cases. That decision becomes a judgement call – the benefits vs. the harm.

The study of 5,815 adults was used to identify some of the more common competing chronic conditions. Included were the following combinations: hypertension and osteoarthritis; diabetes and coronary artery disease; and hypertension and depression: hypertension and diabetes; hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

One example of drug competition happened in patients with coronary heart disease and COPD. The beta blockers that are often prescribed to treat heart disease can cause airway resistance that makes COPD symptoms worse.

There are number of sites on the Internet where you can check your own medication list.
Google “medicine interactions” for a number of places. Note: If all your meds are not listed at one site, check at another – they are not all the same.

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