List of Drugs Older Adults Should Avoid

Medically Reviewed

Ten types of medications should be avoided by older adults, says the American Geriatrics Society Foundation.

Drug safety takes on special importance for people 65 and up. Older adults are more likely to experience side effects from prescription drugs than young people are, partly because of physiological changes in the body that commonly accompany aging.

If you’re taking any of the following drugs, ask your doctor whether there are safer alternatives. Never stop taking a medication without consulting your doctor; abruptly stopping a drug can be dangerous.

1. Long-acting nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like indomethacin (Indocin) and piroxicam (Feldene)

2. Digoxin (Lanoxin) in doses greater than 0.125 milligrams

3. Glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase) and chlorpropamide (Diabinese) for diabetes

4. Muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), methocarbamol (Robaxin) and carisoprodol (Soma)

5. Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax) and chlordiazepoxide (Librium), and sleeping pills, such as zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien)

6. Certain anticholinergic drugs: antidepressants amitriptyline (Elavil) and imipramine (Tofranil), antiparkinsonian drug trihexyphenidyl (Artane), irritable bowel syndrome drug dicyclomine (Bentyl), overactive bladder drug oxybutynin (Ditropan)

7. Meperidine (Demerol) for pain relief

8. Certain over-the-counter drugs: Products that contain the antihistamines diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Aller-Chlor, Chlor-Trimeton) and over-the-counter sleep products that contain diphenhydramine (e.g., Tylenol PM)

9. Antipsychotics, such as haloperidol (Haldol), risperidone (Risperdal) and quetiapine (Seroquel), only if you are not being treated for psychosis

10. Estrogen pills and patches

__Learn more about medication safety for older adults and dangerous drug interactions. __