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Less Is More
September 2015

“Mom, You Have to Trust Me”

Author Affiliations
  • 1Consumers Union Safe Patient Project, Consumer Reports, Lockport, New York
  • 2Department of Family Medicine, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(9):1441. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.3659

At 88 years of age, my mother, Alice, felt nagging pain in her neck and shoulders. She had been invited to several parties on July 4th and did not want the pain to crimp her enjoyment of the holiday. Her primary care physician’s office was closed for the holiday, so she went to a local hospital emergency department.

She received a diagnosis of osteoarthritis and was given a prescription for the muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride. Although my mother filled the prescription, she never took any of the pills because her pain subsided. Shortly after, a physician treating her for an unrelated condition informed us that cyclobenzaprine is on the Beers Criteria list1—a compendium of medications deemed potentially dangerous for older adults. Cyclobenzaprine is categorized as to be avoided in elderly patients because it can cause confusion, delirium, and cognitive impairment.

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