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Ibuprofen for older adults, inner ear dizziness

Created date

September 22nd, 2016

Q. Why is it dangerous for older adults to take certain pain medicines such as ibuprofen?

A. Ibuprofen is in a drug class called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS). These medicines are on the American Geriatrics Society’s list of drugs to use with extreme caution in seniors mainly because they can cause asymptomatic gastric ulcers and bleeding in your digestive tract. NSAIDS can also raise blood pressure, worsen heart failure, and affect your kidneys. While these types of negative effects are more often associated with long-acting NSAIDS such as indomethacin and naproxen, using ibuprofen for an extended period of time can significantly increase the risk of complications. If you have chronic pain, check with your doctor about your particular risk and if there are any other medications that might be safer.

Q. I have had dizziness for about ten years. I’ve seen an ear, nose, and throat specialist who said that it’s due to an inner ear problem. Are there any new treatments?  

A. A number of problems with the inner ear can cause dizziness or vertigo, which is the sensation of the room spinning. Some causes include infection, inflammation, or trauma, but because you’ve had this problem for ten years, it may be due to a calcium imbalance in the inner ear canals, which can happen because of aging changes. Treatments include periodic repositioning maneuvers, which your doctor or a speech-language therapist can perform, and medications. Because chronic dizziness can interfere with your balance and result in a fall, you should sit down right away or hold on to something when you feel dizziness starting. It can also help if you avoid sudden movements or position changes, so sit up and stand slowly. With regard to new treatments, there are a number of studies under way to test new positional movements, devices, and medications. Talk to your doctor if your dizziness persists or if you are interested in participating in a research study.

Dr. Kundrat, Medical Director at Riderwood, received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and his medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital/Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pa. He completed his internship at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va., and his residency at Eastern Virginia School of Medicine in Norfolk, Va. Kundrat is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatric medicine. He joined Riderwood in September 2008.