Elderly people: Taking medicines without medical advice can lead to drug interactions (doctor)

Tunis: Taking medicines without medical advice and self-medication for elderly people suffering from a number of chronic illnesses can lead to harmful drug interactions, said geriatric doctor Afef Hammami. The elderly are exposed to the possibility of drug interactions and undesirable effects on their health if they take incompatible or inappropriate medicines, which is why they need to consult a geriatrician, she told TAP on Sunday. As we age, the capacity of the kidneys and liver to eliminate residual medicines from the body diminishes, she explained, adding that scientific studies have shown that people over the age of 65 take five or more medicines. She explained that drug interactions can, in some cases, lead to pathologies or haemorrhages in the brain, and that certain antibiotic drugs can increase blood sugar levels in diabetics, or cause, in another case, a sharp increase in the secretion of certain hormones due to the use of some inappropriate antidepressants and anti-inflammatories, leading to un desirable interactions. Afaf Hammami underlined the need for doctors to be familiar with the medicines they administer and to study their interactions in order to ensure the effectiveness of the treatments provided to elderly people suffering from one or more illnesses, calling for the need to avoid self-medication and the use of food supplements without medical advice. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse