Over-the-counter drugs to avoid in older adults with kidney impairment

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Older adults (age 65 years or older) are at especially high risk of having adverse events from over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, and older adults who have kidney disease are at an even higher risk. These older adults with kidney impairment may need to completely avoid, or at the least reduce, their exposure to certain OTC products, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, sodium phosphate, and proton-pump inhibitors. When older adults with kidney impairment are counselled about the safety of OTC drugs, they need to be made aware that some drugs may also require dose adjustments. Several categories of drugs that commonly require dosage changes include antihistamines, histamine-2 receptor antagonists, oral decongestants, codeine, and a few gastrointestinal drugs. Another concern is for the possibility of there being a drug-drug interaction between an OTC medication and a prescription drug. Careful consideration needs to be paid to the choice of drugs given to older adults. Patient education is essential to reduce the occurrence of adverse events.

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