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Older Americans take inappropriate drugs – drugs with dangerous side effects not recommended for elderly people

Older Americans take inappropriate drugs – drugs with dangerous side effects not recommended for elderly people – Brief Article

At least 1 in 4 older Americans not living in nursing homes may take a prescription drug considered inappropriate, a national study concludes.

The study’s authors defined an inappropriate drug as 1 of 20 identified by an expert panel as drugs that older Americans should avoid because of adverse effects, such as daytime sedation or cognitive impairment, resulting in an increased risk of falls.

The study’s authors said their findings probably underestimate the incidence of inappropriate prescribing because the study did not consider other prescribing practices, such as excessive drug dosage or duration, and medication interactions.

The study report appeared in the July 27, 1994, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, with information from 6,171 people in the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the study, 24 percent of people 65 and older who do not live in nursing homes received at least one of the 20 inappropriate drugs in 1987. Of those receiving the inappropriate drugs, nearly 80 percent received only one drug, while 20 percent received two or more.

The authors recommend “more vigorous” doctor education and increased drug regulation to improve the safety of prescribing medicines.

COPYRIGHT 1994 U.S. Government Printing Office

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group