Sam Bauman: Pitfalls to seniors when taking meds



Seniors often go through a daily routine of their schedule of prescription meds. Important, of course, but then there’ s the over-the-counter items that we do up to ease new aches or pains. I know; I take my meds and rarely an OTC pill, as I did recently when an ankle hurt for no good reason. I took one Tylenol and that a was all that was needed. Never take more than one OTC pill.

There are several kinds of OTCs that can cause confusion and the labels may not tell all you need to know. There’s little government regulation about the OTC drug labels; companies don’t have at stick to standard definitions. And unless one is familiar with such drugs as acetaminophen it’s easy to take too much of it, which is common in many OTCs.

So here’s a short guide to what the labels on OTCs mean:

“Non-Drowsy”. Avoid caffeine if your medications contain a stimulus as you whisk restlessness and difficulty inn going to sleep.

“PM” when tacked onto a OTC drug usually means it contains an old school antihistamine which can make you sleepy as a side effect. Don’t rely on PM for more than a few days.

“Daytime and Nighttime” Daytime may mean there’s nothing to make you sleepy. Nighttime means that the drug has a product that causes drowsiness,

“All Day” are extended drugs that will work over many hours, 12 to 24. Doses vary widely so be sure to read the label carefully,

“Migraine” may lead you to think you’re getting a stronger medicine for more severe headaches. But some contain the same active ingredients a the original versions but with different dosage suggestions.

Be sure and turn to the back of the drug container for information about the active ingredients such as acetaminophen. Combine the amount of that in med with other meds to use it to make sure you don’t go over the safe levels.


A couple of weeks ago Nevada Appeal reader David Castle wrote a letter to the editor, which was duly published. In it he asked why the Appeal had not published anything about Geoengineering.

I started looking in the Internet and found a lot about Geoengineering, not much from the U.S. government but lots from concerned citizens. Here’s part of what I gleaned from the ‘Net:

“Geoengineering means large-scale interventions in the Earth’s climate system to try to tackle climate change. There are, broadly, two types. The first would try to take some of the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change out of the atmosphere. The second would try to balance out that we have too many greenhouse gases in our atmosphere by reflecting more sunlight back into space

“Although ideas for climate engineering have been around for at least 20 years, until recently public discussion has been discouraged by the scientific community. Environmentalists and governments have been reluctant to talk about it too. The reason is simple: apart from its unknown side-effects, geoengineering would weaken resolve to reduce carbon emissions.”

I could find little from “official sources” about GN but much from unofficial but detailed sources. There is much about the dangers of GN but not much positive.

The Geoengineering Climate: Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts project of the National Academy of Sciences funded by United States agencies, including NOAA, NASA, and the CIA, commenced in March 2013, was expected to issue a report in fall 2014. The report apparently has not been issued.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has assessed the scientific literature on climate engineering (referred to as “geoengineering” in its reports). The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report was published in 2007. It states:

Geo-engineering options, such as ocean fertilization to remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere, or blocking sunlight by bringing material into the upper atmosphere, remain largely speculative and unproven, and with the risk of unknown side-effects. Reliable cost estimates for these options have not been published.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.


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