Many seniors are taking five medications a day. Some are taking many more than that. Are USA physicians overprescribing? Is there a way we can encourage them to start thinking out of the box and consider other evidence-based non-invasive modalities first, whenever possible?
Here’s a list of medications that may be problematic for seniors (American Geriatrics Society 2019 Beers Criteria). Take this article to your primary care physician for discussion of med risk/benefit if you are taking any of them.
Certain prescription and/or OTC medications and dietary supplements may negatively interact with grapefruit juice, grapefruit, Seville oranges, pomelos, and tangelos due to chemicals in the fruits.
Fruit chemicals are thought to block enzymes in the body that metabolize medication in the small intestine, thereby causing the medication to hang around longer than expected. Interestingly, these fruits may also interfere with transporters in the body, causing medication to be less well absorbed into the bloodstream, and may reduce medication or supplement effects. Sound confusing? It’s complicated.
Product classes involved in unwanted interactions include, but are not limited to:
-Antihistamines (e.g., Allegra)
-Corticosteroids for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Only some of the medications and supplements in each of the categories can be affected by the fruit/juices. Every person may react differently based on the amount of fruit they consume, the medication or supplement type/dose taken, and the individual’s natural ‘enzyme levels.’
Don’t worry, but do get educated about how and when to properly take your medications and supplements to be safe. Enjoy healthy nutrition. Talk with your pharmacist about what’s best for you!
Expiration dates on OTC & prescription medications and dietary supplements typically fall between 12 – 60 months after product production. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are required by law to establish these dates but do not have to study product stability and potency beyond those dates.
A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine using eight medications containing 15 active ingredients demonstrated product potency for decades beyond the original expiration dates. Another study in the military concluded the same results for 100 medications after 15 years.
The U. S. government has a Shelf Life Extension Program to extend dates on federal stockpiles for the military. But this is the exception to the rule in a special population to save the government money in repurchasing.
The bottom line for consumers is this – > follow the product manufacturer’s established expiration date stamped on the OTC bottle or prescription vial. Follow these same guidelines for your dietary supplements as well.
Keep all of these products in a cool, dry, dark place in your home.