1-In-3 Seniors Prescribed ‘Potentially Inappropriate’ Medications

By John Commins, Health Leaders Media, Oct 26, 2020.

One-in-three older Americans is prescribed inappropriate medications and that leads to increased hospitalizations and an additional $458 a year in per-patient healthcare spending, according to new research.

“Although efforts to de-prescribe have increased significantly over the last decade, potentially inappropriate medications continue to be prescribed at a high rate among older adults in the United States,” lead investigator David Jacobs, PharmD, PhD, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said in a media release.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, used the 2011–2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to examine the prescription of 33 potentially inappropriate medications or classes of medications to adults 65 and older.

The list of potentially inappropriate medications includes antidepressants, barbiturates, androgens, estrogens, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, first-generation antihistamines, and antipsychotics.

Of the more than 218 million older adults surveyed, more than 34% were prescribed at least one potentially inappropriate medication, and also spent an additional $458 on healthcare, including an extra $128 on prescription drugs.

On average, those 34% of patients were prescribed twice as many drugs, were nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized or visit the emergency department, and were more likely to visit a primary care physician compared to older adults who were not prescribed potentially inappropriate medication, the study found.

“De-prescribing is currently at an early stage in the United States,” Jacobs said. “Further work is needed to implement interventions that target unnecessary and inappropriate medications in older adults.”

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