A list of dangerous drugs -- and safer alternatives -- for seniors

Consumer Reports has published a valuable article identifying common prescription drugs that can be dangerous for older patients. Healthcare consumers over age 65 are more than twice as likely to suffer from adverse drug reactions; the publication lists the following drugs as posing a high enough risk that they should be avoided if possible:

Antianxiety drugs

  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium, Limbitrol); diazepam (Valium); quazepam (Doral)
  • Recommended alternatives: alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), and oxazepam (Serax)



High blood pressure and enlarged prostate drugs

Pain relievers

Sleeping pills

  • Barbituates (Butisol, Nembutal, Seconal); diphenhydramine (Sominex); flurazepam (Dalmane)
  • Recommended alternatives: zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien)

Stomach drugs

  • Bisacodyl (Dulcolax); Diphenoxylate (Lomotil)
  • Recommended alternatives: Increased intake of fiber and fluids; change in diet; loperamide (Imodium AD)