Nearly one in five older patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans were prescribed at least one high-risk medication even though many of the drugs had safer substitutions, a study in The Journal of General Internal Medicine shows.
These drugs are found in a list of 110 drugs provided by health authorities to doctors giving to the elderly because their side effect risks are magnified. Included in the list are anti-anxiety medications like Valium that can lead to prolonged sedation, and in turn potentially deadly falls and fractures, as well as addiction.
The study found that as socioeconomic status grew lower, the likelihood of being prescribed a high-risk drug increased. Compared with people 65 and odler living in New England, those living in the southern region from Texas to South Carolina were about 12 percent more likely to be prescribed a high-risk medication.
The simultaneous use of multiple medications, a phenomenon known as polypharmacy, is a growing problem among people over 65, who take at least four prescription drugs on average. Adverse effects brough on by the combination of multiple drugs are thought to be responsible for nearly a third of all hospital admissions.
"Polypharmacy is a major public health problem," said Dr. Amal Trivedi, one of the study's authors. "Sometimes less is more, particularly for the elderly." Read the full details here:
Nursing home negligence and neglect of the elderly occurs routinely in nursing homes and hospitals throughout the US. Elderly and nursing home patients are negligently prescribed risky drugs in an effort to make them calm and easier to care for, making staffing at these institutions easier.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to nursing home abuse or negligence, call the professionals at Crandall & Pera Law for a free case evaluation.