The two most common blood pressure medicines for adults are not always the best choices for seniors, according to a new study.
A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that blood pressure medication can also be effective for some older adults with hypertension.
“The main problem with using these medications is that you’re not getting the same benefits and less of a risk of complications that you would with a prescription medication,” says Amy Kudacki, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Kaiser.
Some older adults are getting too many of these medications, the study found.
According to the study, the blood pressure drug gabopentin has the most positive effects on blood pressure in older adults, while a combination of other medications such as beta-blockers and anticoagulants have the least effect.
The findings are based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative survey of nearly 14,000 U.S. adults conducted every five years.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, also found that the combination of drugs, such as aspirin and a combination statin, had the greatest benefit for people who are older and people with type 2 diabetes.
The medications, in combination, had lower blood pressure readings in people who had hypertension, and also had a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
While the medications have been available for decades, they have often been prescribed to patients for the same problems, says Kudaczis Kudackski, a senior vice-president and chief scientific officer at Kudans Health Group.
The risk of adverse effects with certain medications, such an interaction with other medications, is higher than other medications.
For instance, gabatentin and clopidogrel have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for older adults due to concerns that their risk of heart attack and stroke is higher, and because they have not yet been proven safe and effective for older people, she says.
Kudackis Kück, senior associate vice president at the Kaiser Health Alliance, says older adults who are prescribed gabasil, or gabepentin, are at a higher increased risk of stroke.
When a prescription is given, the drug is taken every six to eight hours, she said.
Kudakis Kuperski says gabacentin and gabrapentin should be prescribed as needed, as the medications can also reduce the risk of blood clotting, which is more common among people over 65.
Kudaczes Kupersen, a professor of geriatrics at University of Texas Medical Branch, says if you have a blood pressure cuff, you should get a medication to treat your symptoms, such a beta-blocking drug.