Antibiotics Safety for Elderly

Are Antibiotics Safe for the Elderly?

Antibiotics work by killing or preventing bacteria from spreading and reproducing. Oral, topical, and injectable antibiotics can be provided in various doses. Healthcare professionals providing nursing care services are licensed to administer these medications properly. But antibiotic use does include risks, especially for older adults. According to a 2013 article in US Pharmacy, common adverse effects to antibiotics seen in the elderly include: dizziness, renal toxicity, hyperkalemia, blood dyscrasias, seizures, esophageal ulceration, and acute liver injury.

Unfortunately, older adults are more susceptible to bacterial infection because of decreased immunity, poor nutrition; chronic illnesses; and increased exposure to organisms. So, antibiotics can be life-saving drugs for the elderly. How do we be balance the risk of adverse effects to antibiotics with the risk of infection in elderly? We can take note of the following concerns with antibiotic use:

  • Overuse.
    Unregulated use of antibiotics can lead to resistance, adverse effects, allergic reactions, drug interactions, and superinfections. To avoid overuse, always consult a physician when taking antibiotics. Do not store unused antibiotics for later use. Never “borrow” someone else’s medication to manage your symptoms. If you receive home care, alert your provider to keep track of your prescribed medications and doses.
  • Resistance.
    The reduction of effectiveness of antibiotics occurs when patients experience increased exposure to the healthcare system, antimicrobials, and the use of invasive devices. Healthcare agents and providers of home services in Illinois should pay attention to drug interactions, especially in patients with multiple medications.
  • Dosage.
    Seniors experience physiological changes to medication, so drug dosage and reaction in the body are unpredictable. The concept of “Start low, go slow” may not be necessarily better with antibiotics. Appropriate doses should be administered carefully and close consultation with physicians is important.

Despite the risks and challenges, the elderly can and should still use antibiotics. Proper supervision and administration can minimize risks of adverse reactions and maximize infection control. Passionate Private Duty has a reputation for delivering high quality nursing care services and home care in Pingree Grove, Illinois. Rest assured that our skilled nurses are compassionate and competent to provide excellent care for you or your loved one.

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