Spring is in full effect, and with it, the pollen count has risen. This can lead to issues with allergies. Oftentimes, medications are prescribed to help provide symptom relief. However, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Beers Criteria panel recommends that seniors avoid certain kinds of allergy medications due to problems they may cause.
The AGS recommends against taking chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine. This is because the medications are anticholinergics. These block certain neurotransmitters that help with memory and cognitive function. As we age, our bodies become less able to use these neurotransmitters anyway. Adding in these drugs can make the side-effects even worse in older adults.
These side-effects can include worsening vision, dry mouth, constipation, drowsiness, and increased risk of overheating. They are bothersome regardless of age, but these side-effects are even more dangerous for older adults.
The AGS recommends talking to your doctor about alternative medications if you are taking these.