According to a study from the Mayo Clinic, 70% of Americans under the age of 64 take prescription medications. This number increases with age, and 89% of adults aged 65 and older take prescription medications, with a majority of them taking more than five prescriptions. However, the problem lies in the fact that many of these medications can cause peripheral neuropathy or worsen nerve damage. In this article, we’ll reveal four commonly prescribed medications that are linked to causing and worsening peripheral nerve damage.
The Problem with Prescription Medications
Prescription medications have become the norm in today’s society. Americans tend to chase symptoms and create a pill for them, forgetting that each medication comes with a long list of side effects that can create their own set of symptoms and health problems. This leads to the addition of more medications to treat the negative side effects, creating a downward spiral of having to add more and more medications.
The Dire Picture of Older Adults and Medications
Most adults aged 70 and up are on anywhere from 9 to 13 different prescriptions, leading to a rise in the number of medications that can cause or worsen peripheral neuropathy. This is a significant concern as peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet.
Anti-Anxiety Medications and Peripheral Neuropathy
The National Institutes of Mental Health states that over 20% of Americans between the ages of 12 and 80 take some form of anti-anxiety drug. These drugs are often used as sleep aids and can cause peripheral nerve damage. Some common medications in this group include Ambien, Buspar, diazepam, clonazepam, Xanax, and lorazepam.
Antidepressant Drugs and Peripheral Neuropathy
Since the 1980s, the use of antidepressant medication has risen by over 400%. The National Institute for Mental Health reports that one in four people take some form of antidepressant, such as Prozac, Celexa, Ciprolax, Blue Straw, Mirtazapine, Effexor, Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline, and Cymbalta. Although Cymbalta was approved to treat peripheral neuropathy, it is known to worsen peripheral neuropathy damage.
The Danger of Calcium Channel Blockers
Calcium channel blockers are a class of blood pressure medication that can result in peripheral nerve damage as a side effect. This class of antihypertensive is by far the worst, causing significant damage to the nerves.