Elderly receiving inappropriate prescriptions from their doctor's office

February 24, 2005

New York, NY - A large review of data linked to over 175,000 older adults enrolled in HMOs indicates that potentially inappropriate medications are being prescribed in substantial numbers. The findings are published in the February Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

In 2000-01, according to researchers, more than 28% of elderly individuals received at least one of 33 medications deemed potentially inappropriate by medical experts, while 5% received one of 11 drugs that had been classified as inappropriate in all older patients.

Data showed that overall rates of use of any of the 33 potentially inappropriate medications were greater in women than in men. However, recently reported information from medical offices shows that prescriptions of these medications for elderly people has not decreased.

"The use of potentially inappropriate medications in the elderly continues to be pervasive throughout the United States despite more than a decade of research and media coverage of this issue," the authors write, calling their work indicative of "the need to understand more fully the rationale behind the continued use of these medications."

An association between potentially inappropriate medications and negative outcomes would support the position that errors like these are common among the elderly outpatient population. Questions still remain as to whether identifying these inappropriate drugs will likely lead to improved use of medications.
-end-
This study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article please contact medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

About the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society publishes articles that are relevant in the broadest terms to the clinical care of older persons. Such articles may span a variety of disciplines and fields and may be of immediate, intermediate, or long-term potential benefit to clinical practice.

About the American Geriatrics Society

The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is the premier professional organization of health care providers dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all older adults. With an active membership of over 6,000 health care professionals, the AGS has a long history of effecting change in the provision of health care for older adults. In the last decade, the Society has become a pivotal force in shaping attitudes, policies and practices regarding health care for older people. Visit www.americangeriatrics.org for more information.

About Blackwell Publishing

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 600 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals and 600 text and reference books annually, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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