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Zany Pill-Popping Grandparents May Become Prescription Drug Addicts

Three out of four Americans age 65 or older take prescription drugs every day for chronic conditions. One study of senior drug takers found that 28% of women and nearly 22% of men take five or more medicines regularly. The most widely used drugs are for lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol – problems that are often linked to diabetes, heart disease and obesity. The data reflects both worsening overall public health and more aggressive treatment by doctors, who now have more effective drugs to prescribe. Luckily, drugs prescribed for these problems are less likely to cause addiction than some other major classes of drug, particularly painkillers, tranquilizers and anti-anxiety medications. Used properly, most prescription drugs, such as painkillers and anti-anxiety medications, should be both effective and safe. Unfortunately, in some cases, seniors can get addicted to morphine derivatives like Demerol or Vicodin, which are often prescribed for hip fractures and other painful injuries. We covered the pain mechanisms involved and the various forms of treatment in our recent articles on Chronic Pain Management...

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