When Rosemary Butler belted out the chorus on Jackson Browne's "Stay (Just a Little Bit Longer)" almost four decades ago, a lot of 50- to 60-year-olds apparently took that advice. There are now over 53,000 centenarians in the U.S. - a 66 percent increase in 30 years!
Advances in treatment and prevention are extending your lifespan, and increasing the number of medications you take: 75 percent of you, 65 or older, take drugs for at least two chronic disorders; almost a third of you take five or more medications; you also take 35 percent of all over-the-counter drugs. No wonder drug interactions are an increasing problem.
A recent study found that combining prescription meds for high blood pressure and osteoarthritis is the most common cause of a risky drug interaction. If you add a cox-2 inhibitor for pain on top of a beta blocker for HBP, the inhibitor blocks the blocker; your blood pressure stays too high. Other combos of prescription and/or OTC meds also cause trouble.
To minimize this:
1. Write down each prescription, nonprescription med and supplement you take.
2. Schedule time with your pharmacist to review your list, checking for drug interactions; take notes.
3. Take your list and notes to your primary care physician. Create a wellness plan that includes stress management, walking and avoiding bad foods. This will reduce your need for chronic-disease meds. Medicare and most insurance companies cover the visit annually.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.