Be cautious of: Estrogen pills and patches, which are typically prescribed for hot flashes and other menopause-related symptoms.
The concern: Estrogen can increase your risk of breast cancer, blood clots and dementia. Estrogens can also aggravate urinary incontinence in women.
Whenever a doctor prescribes a new medication or makes a change in the dose, ask why.
For instance, if a new medication is being prescribed to ease the side effects of a drug you're already taking, ask whether it makes sense to continue taking the drug that is causing the bad reaction.
Also, ask your health care provider or pharmacist to check any new medications in a drug interaction computer database, especially if you're already taking five or more drugs.
Check Your Medication List
Once or twice a year ask your doctor or health care provider to review the medications, supplements and vitamins you're taking. Ask whether you still need to take each one at its current dose.
If possible, try to have all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. (Most pharmacies use computer systems that flag possible drug interactions.)
Also, let your health care providers know about any past allergic reactions you have had to medications.
These organizations can help you find a doctor or pharmacist who specializes in caring for older adults:
American Society of Consultant Pharmacists or 703-739-1300
Remember to go to the AARP home page every day for great deals and for tips on keeping healthy and sharp.