Alert
Close

   

Enter the Family Fun Travel Sweepstakes. No purchase necessary. See official rules

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

AARP REALPAD

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Learning Centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.


Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Health Discovery

Dangers of Common Painkillers

There's mounting evidence that regular use is risky for older people

The findings, published in July in the American Journal of Medicine, suggest that doctors should weigh the dangers of these medications carefully, says Anthony Bavry, M.D., the cardiologist who led the study. He recommends acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to his patients, because it may have a much lower risk of heart complications than other NSAIDs. "Many patients change after they understand the risk from these agents," he says.

"Just because something is available over the counter doesn't mean its use is free of any risk."

These studies mainly looked at older patients with signs of heart disease, but the risk extends to older people generally, says Antman, who is also an editor at Circulation.

Still, this very real risk isn't registering with many patients. "Just because something is available over the counter doesn't mean its use is free of any risk," he says.

People often start taking these medications seeking pain relief for a temporary problem. "The patient feels better and they make the assumption that they need to continue taking this medication," Antman said. "It's a very important cycle to interrupt."

Doctors who cannot find another way to control their patients' pain symptoms should proceed with caution, said Antman, who made that point in a 2007 Circulation scientific statement. "The key message is take the NSAID that is associated with the lowest risk, in the smallest dose for the shortest time necessary to relieve the pain."

See also: 9 medications older adults should use with caution. >>

Michael Haederle is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in People, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP membership discount Man trying on eyeglasses at optometrists smiling

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at LensCrafters.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Advertisement