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Senior Health: Information about Narcotic Painkillers

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By far the most commonly prescribed medication to seniors in the United States, narcotic painkillers are regularly prescribed to relieve long-term pain caused by conditions such as arthritis, headaches, and some of the late-stage symptoms of cancer. Because there are many health risks associated with regular use of narcotic painkillers, Home Care Assistance, a local provider of Phoenix in-home care, shares information about painkillers and important things to know.

General Information and Commonly Reported Side Effects

There are several different types of narcotic painkillers, with the most common being APAP (Paracetamol) and HYCD (Hydrocodone). These types of painkillers can cause issues in seniors such as shallow breathing, drowsiness, vomiting, and confusion. The most adverse symptom of narcotic painkillers is that they can be habit-forming, leaving a senior reliant on them physically and sometimes emotionally.

Safety Tips for Seniors and Their Caregivers

Painkillers can sometimes have adverse effects ranging from mild discomfort to severe complications that will require immediate medical attention. Painkillers should never be taken without reviewing all current medications with the prescribing doctor or your loved one’s primary care physician. When reviewing current medications, also be sure to share any vitamins or natural supplements that your loved one may be taking as ell.

All painkillers should be taken as directed, meaning time schedules and dosages should not be adjusted unless recommended by a physician. Hydrocodone, in particular, is often prescribed in slow-release capsules, so it’s crucial these capsules are swallowed whole. If the capsule is broken in the mouth (for example, by chewing), a very high dosage of Hydrocodone can be released at once, causing an overdose of the medication.

In-Home Help for Older Adults

If you believe that your aging parent or loved one could use additional help with medication schedules or reminders, learn more about hourly or live-in home care in Phoenix from Home Care Assistance. We are a trusted provider of senior care and offer flexible care schedules so that your loved one can receive the care needed to live a safe, healthy life in the comfort of home. Call 602.388.1085 for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation today.